On the 3500-kilometer journey from a now deserted home in Aleppo to Vienna, a Syrian refugee has to witness and endure the state of humanity and humaneness in our time. By trying to perceive the world through the eyes of someone who sets off to seek refuge, an unmasking prospect unfolds – of devastating human experiences, of a catastrophe emerging from an endless chain of atrocities and neglect; but also of support and empathy. The exhibition “when home won’t let you stay” focuses on these astonishingly varied shades of humanity and examines the notion of humaneness in the early 21st century. It interrogates what it means to be human today, in contrast to the ideals of humaneness and human rights. The exhibition asks about the possibilities of socio-economical and political developments towards a more conscious co-existence; not only so as a temporary solution to this immediate catastrophe – the so-called refugee crisis – but also as a confrontation with our individual and communal approaches to being human.
Borrowing its title from a line of the poem Home by Warsan Shire, the exhibition attempts to elucidate the journeys of the displaced between their lost homes and the new ones that will have to be built. —Tobias Nöbauer & Işın Önol