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A ‘Ray of Hope’ for those forced to leave their homes behind

BuzZzing’s exclusive interview with Muhammed Muheisin

Two-time Pulitzer winner Muhammed Muheisen recounts the story behind one his most evocative portrayals of the plight of refugees.

Sharjah: What is it that makes people leave their homes and valuable behind for a supposed sense of safety in an unknown, faraway land?

“It’s the ray of hope,” says two-time Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Muhammed Muheisen while recounting the story behind one his most evocative portrayals of the plight of refugees from countries ravaged by war.

Muheisen is one of the select international photographers exhibiting at XPOSURE 22, the seven-day annual international photography exhibition that began at the Sharjah Expo Centre on Wednesday, February 9.

“For me, photography is life. Photography is light, photography is colors and emotions. And this is the theme of my work life and war,”adds Muheisen while describing ‘Ray of Hope’ he shot in the Serbian capital of Belgrade at a time when the European migrant crisis had spilled over to the Balkans. “It was in in January 2017, there was hundreds of unaccompanied refugee minors from Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries. They took refuge in abandoned warehouses in Belgrade. However, at that time of the year, it was minus 20 degrees. It was very cold. The circumstances were so difficult. They showered in cold water. They slept on the ground. They inhaled the toxic smoke. These fires. That was very important for me to tell these stories to the world,” adds the Jordanian who now lives in Amsterdam where he runs the Dutch non-profit organisation Everyday Refugees Foundation.

“Nobody leaves their home unless they are forced to leave their home, and these people simply had a life and had life that was taken from them. And for me, this light is hope. Hope for a better future, better tomorrow, and there is no better way to show that than a picture that tells the whole story,”sums up the photographer named by Time Magazine in 2013 as the best wire photographer for over a decade.

Muheisen has been documenting the refugee crisis in different parts of the world and is exhibiting ‘Ray of Hope’ along with other select works of his at the XPOSURE until February 15.

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