The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR in partnership with the Cox's Bazar Art Club has commenced a two-week photo exhibition called "Añra Rohingya" (We are Rohingya), showcasing photos taken by ten Rohingya refugees and allowing for an intimate look into what life is like for people living in the largest refugee camp in the world.
Based on the 'Rohingyatographer' magazine, this exhibit allows visitors to learn more about the individuals who have found refuge in Bangladesh, after fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar five years ago, said a press release.
"Through photography, Rohingya youth are telling their stories and document their collective memory and cultural heritage. The exhibit also shows how the lived memories of millions of Bangladeshis who were uprooted during the Liberation War inspired their generosity to host the persecuted Rohingya from neighbouring Myanmar," said Johannes van der Klaauw, UNHCR Representative in Bangladesh.
Curated by David Palazón and Amena Khatun from the Liberation War Museum, this exhibition explores themes of memory, hope, dreams, faith, beauty, craftsmanship, grief, loss, and love among the Rohingya refugee through 50 photographs.
Additionally, 11 photographs from the Liberation War Museum archives have been included, showing the lives and stories of Bangladeshis, who in 1971 were forced to flee and live as refugees, during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
More than 50% of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are youth. They have been living for more than five years in temporary shelters with limited access to education and skills development. Amidst the harsh conditions in the camps, art and photography are for them a mode of expression, to deal with emotions and feelings in a positive way and ease the pain. By painting or taking photographs they are also keeping their culture and history alive, as they mostly focus on documenting their community's daily lives.
In the inauguration event today, some of the Rohingya refugee photographers were present, and the audience had the chance to learn more about their lives. The 'Anra Rohingya' exhibition will run from 1 to 14 September at the Cox's Bazar Cultural Centre.