Giles Duley Exhibition Visit

Giles Duley Exhibition Visit

I went to the Giles Duley Exhibiton on the 7th of October and found the exhibition quite compelling. In a way it felt interactive as it had me following each image as if it were an illustrative story. Starting with the departure of refugees from their country to the very end, where they either made it to safe haven Germany or not.

The Exhibition and my thoughts

A photograph of a woman looking through the train window in Macedonia. Giles Duley mentions how he met a young man who had fled from Syria leaving his friends and family behind, the man said to him, what I thought was a very chilling message, “Its simple, I was the first to give up hope, I was the first to realise there is no more Syria.”


A group of refugees arrive at Schonefeld station in Berlin. After months of dealing with hunger, nights without shelter, smugglers, crossing the Aegean by dinghy boat, they dub their last leg of the journey “The train of Hope”. Living in such a well-off city like London, it’s hard to imagine sleeping without a roof over my head let alone without food etc. The basic resources in which we’re as a society so wasteful of, are emeralds in the eyes of these refugees.


A group of refugee children street dancing outside a petrol station where there were 2,000 stuck refugees. I always find it beautiful how pure children can be, being an uncle to 3 nephews and a niece and how little they know about bad and the good, makes me want to return to childhood where my heart was pure and untainted.


2015 where border restrictions were toughened in order to control the influx on refugees.


A haunting photograph of a child’s drawing of the horrors they had seen in Afghanistan. Its really sad to see the crushing details of the inside of a refugee child’s mind.


After drifting helplessly for over 40 hours after his boat lost its engine, Amer from the now devastated town of Kirkuk, after being rescued enjoys his first meal in days. Thinking of being lost at sea in the dark with no engine literally terrifies me and I believe it would anyone else, it goes to show how serious these refugees circumstances are.


A young Afghan boy being looked after by his aunt while his mother receives medical treatment after collapsing from a long and strenuous boat ride.


An Afghan woman holding her baby in shock after their boat landed. This photograph really hit me as you can see the desensitized to fear this lady is, she must’ve seen so much to make a shocked yet reserved expression.


By far the most gripping photograph in the exhibition. Those landing on the beaches of Lesvos are said by Duley to have been repeating the words, “We saw death with our own eyes”. The expressions on the children’s faces are heartbreaking.


A father carrying his two children from the boat after landing. If I were in his situation I would think Id need to be strong for my children and show no signs of weakness, something clearly portrayed in this fathers face.


Thanasis, a local fisherman rescuing a stranded boat of refugees. He had been bringing in boats everyday 6 months before the photo was taken. Duley mentioned his words, “How can we go fishing if each day we see dead bodies? You lay your nets but have to abandon them to rescue a boat. Of course their lives come first”.


An inflatable boat with nearly 40 refugees on board drifts helplessly towards the cliffs after its engine stalled. Duley mentions how from where he stood, he could hear the screams as waves crashed into the boat. Looking at the photograph, it doesn’t portray any signs of death, instead you get feelings of loneliness, in which I feel adds a dark ambience to the photograph.


The exhibition really opened my eyes up to the problems going on in countries in war crisis like Syria and Afghanistan. It made me realise how great we really have it in countries like the US and the UK, we are so ungrateful for the lives we live and take advantage of the little things that others fight so hard to get hold of, like peace, hope and life. Great exhibition.