Statement from the artist, Anne E. Moses:
On an already hot early morning in the summer of 2016 I found myself walking along a dusty street at the very far end of Athens’ port of Piraeus. I had been invited to join a small group of Fletcher graduate students and their professor on a visit to one of the makeshift camps that had sprung up around the port to absorb the flood of refugees ferried to the capital from outlying islands. Walking with us was a handful of Farsi and Arabic-speaking interpreters, young people from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Pakistan, themselves no strangers to conflict and flight.
My role was to be that of observer, of sponge to absorb the surroundings and the people we would meet with an eye to one day rendering these impressions on paper or canvas. I was to try to capture the lives of those who had suddenly found themselves in a strange country, living in tents under a highway bridge in a gritty urban port.
The first thing I noticed emerging from the gloom and the endless tangle of tents was a little girl. She was dressed with care and wore a large, floppy pink butterfly ribbon on top of her head that, however unruly, seemed not to impede her from happily skipping rope in the sunshine. It was Eid, the celebration marking the end of Ramadan, and she had been dressed for the occasion.
As curious about us as we were about her, she took the interpreter by the hand and led us to meet her family. As we sat around their neatly kept tents with her father, mother, older sister and brother listening to their stories, the little girl busied herself with a drawing of her
experience, one that I treasure for its forthright optimism and evidence of that special filter, granted only to one of her age, that somehow erased the fear and hardships of their perilous journey from Afghanistan. This little girl and her drawing were the springboard to my work on the subject and the motivation to keep telling the stories of the displaced in pictures.
Anne E. Moses: Anne Moses has painted and drawn for as long as she can remember and went on to pursue this passion through school and university. Art schools in Lausanne, Switzerland and Samos, Greece led to exhibitions at various locations around the world. She works in oils, acrylics, and watercolors. Most recently she has been writing and illustrating books for children–notably, Gatos Musikos – A Secret Told by the Moon, and The Gracie Guides–tales of interesting places as experienced through the eyes of a very clever cocker spaniel, Gracie.
The Journeys Project is a research project out of The Fletcher School at Tufts University that examines the financial journeys of migrants and refugees, to better understand the costs and the survival strategies as well as the approaches used to thrive in a new and unfamiliar home.
Each medium we use to share the questions, research, and findings of the Journeys Project gives you a unique perspective into the complex experiences of the migrants and refugees our researchers speak with. The Displacement Series is a dynamic story map that covers the full lifespan of the Journeys Project. Both Liyou Kebede and Anne Moses create artwork that gives us a new lens through which to see the stories of the migrants and refugees we have interviewed. Our maps help put into perspective the kind of distance some of the stories we’ve heard cover as migrants and refugees search for a more secure life for themselves and their families.