The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center has kicked off the Midwest premiere of
What We Carried: Stories by Iraqi Refugees, a photographic exhibition that explores the possessions that Iraqi refugees cherished enough to bring on their journey to the United States. The exhibition is on display at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center now through June 26, 2016, and is available in both English and Arabic.
Over four million Iraqis have fled their homes since the American invasion in 2003, and over 140,000 have been admitted to the U.S. These refugees did not leave to get a better job or because of a natural disaster; they left because of a brutal dictator and warfare that had virtually destroyed their country. Behind the numbers are individuals with incredible stories of perseverance, stories that illustrate the struggle of uprooting lives and leaving families to search for safety.
The featured objects, photographed by award-winning Portland-based photographer Jim Lommasson, range from family photos to a Qur'an, from jewelry to a game of dominos. Refugees wrote their personal reflections directly on the printed photos before returning them to Lommasson, who then curated the exhibition.
In partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, an exhibition of an additional ten photographs will be on display at the Daley Center Concourse Gallery located in the Pedway in Downtown Chicago from now through April.
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The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is a special grantee of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago.