Shelter-me-notData visualization, Embroidery Art, Infographic Art Installation
The Syrian civil war has quickly become the world’s single largest driver of displacement and migration. As a result, neighboring Lebanon now hosts the largest refugee population per capita in the world, with 2 million refugees living in precarious situations. The UN has identified basic shelter as among the most pressing concern for Syrian families, who often find themselves in spaces not originally designed as shelters.
According to the UNHCR March 2014 shelter survey, data collected throughout Beirut, South Lebanon, Akkar and the Bekaa show refugee homes lack many basic needs and services such as a roof, windows, doors, latrines, electricity and lighting, water supply and heating. Overcrowding is also a serious concern. This infographic art installation aims to shed light on this issue, highlighting the particular ways in which shelter is tied to the experiences of both personal and cultural loss.
Inspired by Syrian cultural and architectural heritage, each of the basic shelter needs is illustrated and embroidered with poignant detail to convey what the refugees are lacking but also what they are leaving behind when fleeing home. This brings about the nostalgic aspect of losing a window and all the personal and collective memories associated with such seemingly mundane aspects of what constitutes a home.
The monochromatic embroidered hoops, suspended in mid-thin air with a strand of threads dangling out and hanging unto the floor, feed into the data to symbolize the uncertain and ongoing pending fate of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. In the middle, a colored fabric collage depicting a typical Syrian refugee household, often housing multiple families, in folkloric textiles is hammered onto a wall, encircled by all the basic problems they are battling with on a daily basis.