An unaccompanied minor from Syria presents his life in Chios
“When I was in my homeland, Syria, before the break of the war, I would see photos of the beauty of nature and think to myself that they depict Paradise on earth. I was wondering: “How are these photos created? Where may I see such photos?”, as in my homeland I would only see mud, dust and ruins…”
With these words Mustafa Omar, a 17-year-old unaccompanied boy, describes his first contact with his great love, photography.
“I suffered a lot during my journey, until I reached Greece. It was the first time I saw the sea and then, for the first time, I began to take photos with my mobile phone. My first photo was Souda’s sea, around the camp. For a month, each time I took photos, I would watch them in the tent where I was living and feel particularly glad. Later on, I started taking photos of refugees, in order to record the conditions under which they were living”.
During the last 14 months Mustafa has been living in METAdrasi’s accommodation facility in Chios.
“When I went to METAdrasi’s shelter, a friend of mine dropped in to visit me and lent me his camera… I started going for walks everyday and take photos in various places of the island. Day by day, I began to gain greater experience, and this was evident in my photos. I started creating a portfolio with all my work depicting refugees, young and older, the way they live, in order for the world to see their hardships, hoping for a solution to be found to their problem and to the wars that have taken hundreds of souls and keep on to date…”
Mustafa Omar’s photos will be presented in the exhibition entitled “Chios Land” that will be held by METAdrasi in Chios, at the Public Benefit Foundation “Maria Tsakos”. The opening of the exhibition is being prepared with great enthusiasm by the children and the staff of METAdrasi’s facility and will take place on Friday May 11th, at 19:30.
“We are glad to be able to give Mustafa the opportunity to present his photos, and through them, to share with us moments of his life”, mentions METAdrasi’s president Lora Pappa. Thanks to Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s important support and the solidarity of the local community, METAdrasi’s facility in Chios continues operating, providing shelter to unaccompanied minors and offering them a safe family environment. “Our aim regarding these children is either their safe transit to permanent accommodation facilities in the mainland, or their reunification with relatives in another European country. Such a case is Mustafa’s, for whom we expect to travel soon to another E.U. country, in order to live with members of his family” adds Ms. Pappa.
The exhibition will be held with the contribution of Chios Public Prosecutor Spyridoula Stavrati, kindly hosted at “Maria Tsakos” Public Benefit Foundation and supported by Chios Photography Club and the Directorate of Secondary Education. The printing of the photos is offered by Demertzis Digital. The professional photographer Orestis Seferoglou provided valuable advice to the young photographer.
Public Benefit Foundation “Maria Tsakos” – Centre for Maritime Research and Tradition
Address: 51 Michail Livanou, Chios, tel.: +30 22710-82777
Duration of exhibition: 11-20 May
Opening hours: daily 9:00-14:00, weekends: 18:00-20:30