Kurds - Yazidis - Temporary Camps - OUT OF PLACE
Dadaab Refugee Camp – Kenya - Out Of Place
Kutupalong Refugee Camp – Bangladesh - Out Of Place
Abir Abdullah - Out of Place. Art and Stories from the World’s Refugee Camps
Kakuma Refugee Camp – Kenya- OUT OF PLACE
Dadaab Refugee Camp – Kenya - Out Of Place




Fondazione Imago Mundi presents from Thursday, 7 th March to Sunday, 30 th June 2024 the exhibition Out of Place. Art and Stories from the World’s Refugee Camps at Gallerie delle Prigioni, Treviso.

The exhibition, curated by Claudio Scorretti, Irina Ungureanu and Aman Mojadidi, features the work of 162 artists who live or have lived in refugee camps and settlements around the world. The essence of the project lies in the plurality of stories that, spread across five continents, testify to how the refugee condition is accidental and claim each its own uniqueness.

The artists’ areas of origin range from Afghanistan to Myanmar, Kurdistan to Vietnam, Ethiopia to Somalia, and many more-all places that speak to us of multifaceted crises, be they armed conflicts, ethnic or religious persecution, natural disasters, violence, or otherwise-and the host countries are similarly distributed everywhere, from Uganda to Kenya, North America to Germany, Bangladesh to Australia, and Italy.

Each room of Gallerie delle Prigioni is dedicated to a refugee camp and offers text, video or photo insights, produced by some of the artists who created the 10×12 cm artworks, so that the visitor can learn about their lives and experiences without filters, from the artists’ own words and images.

From Kutupalong, in Bangladesh, travelling to two of the largest refugee camps in Kenya – Dadaab and Kakuma – and another two representative settlements in Uganda – Nakivale and Bidibidi, the exhibition then turns to the Middle East, to open the doors of Za’atari, the biggest camp for Syrians, and to five Palestinian camps: Baq’a, Hittin, Irbid, Madaba and Souf, all in Jordan. Added to this map are artists who, from the ‘80s until the current day, have lived in similar conditions in other geographical areas, including Kurdish and Yazidi artists who tell the complicated story of their people. A section on Afghanistan features the works and stories of 40 artists who have left their country or continue to live within its borders since the Taliban takeover in 2021.

“Exiles, émigrés, refugees, and expatriates uprooted from their lands”, wrote Edward Said in Reflections on Exile, “must make do in new surroundings, and the creativity as well as the sadness that can be seen in what they do is one of the experiences that has still to find its chroniclers…” Borrowing the definition of refugees proposed by Said – Out of Place – the objective of the exhibition is to offer a space of artistic and narrative expression to the artists living in refugee camps, and to present them first and foremost as artists, considering their current and past refugee status as temporary and accidental in their biographies. In the light of the stories and testimonies collected here, the camps appear not only as fragile and temporary living realities, but as evolving entities, “accidental cities”, urban conglomerates destined to last over time. To give just one example as proof of an approach that, rather than causing isolation, as has happened in the past, instead tends towards the integration of longterm camps into their host countries: in 2023 Kenya announced that the two largest camps in the country – Dadaab and Kakuma – would become integrated settlements where refugees will have to coexist with local communities.

The 10×12 cm works are joined by three installations created specifically for this exhibition by artists in the collection: Rushdi Anwar, a Kurdish artist, presents the work Reframe “Home” with Patterns of Displacement, in which fragments of carpets are placed next to each other, thus generating empty spaces and irregularities in the patterns that refer to the precariousness of refugee life. Laila Ajjawi, a Palestinian street artist, has produced an artistic intervention on canvas that recalls the murals she normally paints in refugee camps. Finally, the photographer Mohamed Keita from the Ivory Coast, who arrived in Rome at the age of 14 in 2007, has produced a series of portraits accompanied by interviews by the journalist Luca Attanasio, titled “Labyrinth“.

With these latest works, the exhibition focuses on a reality closer to home, recounting through the images and direct experiences of the protagonists (both the photographer and the subjects photographed), what it means to be a refugee in Italy today.