Exhibition What We Brought With Us

Exhibition at Goethe-Institut New York October 18 - November 15, 2023

Wed, 10/18/2023 -
Wed, 11/15/2023

Goethe-Institut New York

Objects of Resilience: Exploring the Symbolic Weight of Refugee Things

What We Brought with Us is an extraordinary exhibition that delves into the profound significance of the belongings people have carried with them when forced to flee persecution, suffering, and war. These personal objects hold immense symbolic weight, representing the intricate web of human relationships that constitute a settled life. However, beyond their material value, these items also embody hope—a seed that must take root in unfamiliar soil. When individuals are uprooted from their homes, the selection of their possessions may be hasty and chaotic, driven by urgency and confusion. Along the journey, objects may be lost, traded, stolen, or abandoned due to their impracticality. Yet, what remains can acquire new meaning, becoming a metonym for an entire life and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. What We Brought with Us invites us to question our relationship with possessions and each other. It prompts us to reflect on what truly matters to us and what we consider most precious. Does a single object have the power to represent a lost world? What is our sense of belonging defined by? And in the act of leaving, when we are forced to abandon everything, what remains?

The exhibition "What We Brought With us" will be presented by Goethe-Institut New York and University Alliance Ruhr, it is created by Academy in Exile with the support of University of Cincinnati, New York University, Mellon Foundation and Volkswagen Stiftung.