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female israel artist draws attention to refugees tragedy at un in geneva

On World Refugee Day, ICJW’s representatives to the UN in Geneva, Mary Liling and Leonie de Picciotto, attended the opening of an emotionally impactful art exhibition by Israeli artist Orna Ben Ami entitled “Entire Life in a Package”.

 

The exhibit, which includes welded iron sculptures combined with Reuters’ photographs of refugees in various situations, focuses on the plight of refugees and migrants around the world.

The exhibition was sponsored by the Israeli, American and Canadian Missions in Geneva, and hosted by the United Nations European Headquarters from 20 to 30 June 2017. The opening took place on World Refugee Day, Tuesday 20 June 2017, with the support of the Permanent Missions of Israel, the United States and Canada, and the participation of Mr. Michael Møller, UNOG Director-General, and Mrs. Kelly Clements, Deputy High-Commissioner for Refugees.

 

Explaining her work, the artist Orna Ben-Ami said: "I was shocked and moved by the view of the refugees over the past few years and I wanted to bring this sad and painful subject to the forefront of world opinion. Iron expresses the will of the displaced to hold on strongly to their identity and renders them eternal and meaningful, like metal monuments."

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Israel's Ambassador to the UN and other Organizations in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, sees special significance in hosting this exhibition at the UN headquarters in Geneva: “Here at the United Nations, the words “refugee” and “migrant” are at the center of so many discussions…  But these discussions are void if we forget the individuals behind them, their stories, and their physical and practical needs.”

“The State of Israel has absorbed hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants since its establishment. It is an inspiring example of the invaluable contribution they brought to our nation. This exhibition is a stirring reminder of the collective responsibility we have towards refugees and migrants."

Ben-Ami’s work has appeared in galleries and museums in the United States, Italy, France, Taiwan, Mexico and Israel. Forty of her outdoor sculptures are placed in public spaces in Israel and Germany.

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