Since the First World War, there have been a succession of wars – one after the other. The Second World War, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Balkans, Syria... An installation of suitcases tells the stories of millions of refugees, past and present. And there will always be space for another suitcase. For as long as war rages, people will be forced to pack up what they can and flee.
66 million: that's how many displaced people there are today. They've left their homes, their region, or country behind chasing a different future, a better one – for themselves and for their families. A play of light and sound gets you underway, sweeping you onto the winding, bumpy road that stretches from their homeland to their new home country. It is an arresting, heart wrenching experience.
You close the door to your house and lock it, in the desperate hope that you might one day return. But for those who have left their homes and fled, that hope is fleeting. When your home has been shot at, plundered or destroyed, that precious key becomes just another useless object. Your safe haven ceases to exist.
They look like five ordinary children –and they are. And yet their head coverings, the hijab, reveal more of the story than their faces do. Visit www.toerismevlaamsbrabant.be/onomwonden and follow their chat conversation with each other [Dutch only]. They share things about their escape route, their life in a new country and their dreams for the future.
Playing is the universal language of children: that includes for those who have fled.