The Crossing Point: Photographs of the Refugee Crisis


Currently on view at Gary Nader Gallery is The Crossing Point, Azerbaijani-born and Istanbul-based  photographer Rena Effendi’s reflections of the ongoing Syrian refugees crisis chronicled through her inquisitive and soothing lens. Organized in support of The Radcliffe Foundation Refugee Crisis Fund, the exhibition delivers an impactful yet subtle portrayal of the aching issue of Syrian refugees seeking humane living conditions in lands far from home that seem unfamiliar yet safer despite of hard conditions awaiting en route.


“Last summer in a small Greek town of Idomeni, I watched a long and slow trail of people shuffle across fields and irrigation ditches, attempting a cross from northern Greece into Macedonia”, says Effendi related to her observations. Her photographs present stark colors and definite compositions, captured under the impact of dreary conditions and solemn ideals—those offered to some naturally and some on heavy costs.


The photograph of a mother and her son piercingly staring at the camera brings to mind the famous photograph of the Afghan girl from the 80s as well as countless Renaissance paintings of Mary and Jesus. In this version, the story, also driven by global and national politics akin to the Afghan girl’s, unfortunately follows a harsh path, leaving the weak helplessly alone in dark. A young girl holding onto a bag of biscuits offered by Greek volunteers, a family walking amidst strikingly voluminous and bright sunflowers, and a group of young men heating a tea pot to warm up in decreasing temperatures are captured by Effendi’s camera, juxtaposing the challenging conditions these individuals endure on regular basis throughout their journeys.


The image of a Syrian boy posing in front of a makeshift home built using a billboard of a Lebanese pop star narrates more than any other image: a young body entrapped between home and a new land sheltered by wistfully challenging dreams. “My jeans tried to cross further into Europe, but got caught on the barbed wire fence”, says a young Syrian refugee on the other hand in relation to a photograph showing his pants suspended on the border between Greece and Macedonia.


The proceeds from the exhibition will support The Radcliffe Foundation Refugee Crisis Fund.