8 to 31 May
Exhibition launch 5 May, 9pm
The Art of Survival is a commission for international charity Save the Children, and has been produced in collaboration with refugee communities, depicting what it’s really like to be a refugee child.
This series goes beyond the usual news reportage imagery of refugee crisis, bringing a fresh approach to humanitarian story telling. The elaborately staged scenes bear witness to the hopes, fears and challenges faced by Burundian children seeking refuge in Tanzania, and Syrian children who have fled to Lebanon. It explores past memories, present-day realities and dreams for the future.
There are over 3.5 million refugee children around the world out of school. Without an education, these children have no future. Internet search for children refugees generate thousands of similar looking images. Willocq felt that repetitive broadcasting by popular media meant these stereotypes did not work anymore and that a different way of story telling was required. He wanted to humanise personal stories hoping people would take notice of the breadth and complexity of children seeking refuge, and was totally committed to taking every chance to put a human face to children refugees and to deliver fresh and unique photography.
The idea was to show real children and tell their real stories, by involving the subjects, listening to them, creating a decor together with them, by staging their lives and their desires. Through participative and performative staged photography, Willocq wanted to have real children role play themselves to tell stories in a unique visual way while upholding their dignity. This art project was going to provide a rare chance for the children refugees to express themselves and he wanted the resulting photos to be empowering representations of these children.