Exhibition in collaboration with IM Sweden in Stockholm

On Monday 18 June, Crossed Paths of Europe held its first exhibition at IM Sweden in Stockholm, Sweden. The exhibition was  part of IM’s summer festival which was open for the staff, volunteers and members of IM Sweden, an organisation which works on shedding a light on and strengthening the voices of people who are excluded from the society. IM’s summer festival is a festival that IM organizes annually for its members as a celebration for their engagement in the society. The summer festival is a one-day event where members get to meet the staff and learn more about IM and its work though workshops and activities.

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The two hours exhibition.  showcased 60 photos, coming from 10 different European countries, taken by about 20 people who volunteered for the project. The photos were divided in groups and hung on 7 walls in different rooms of the office; in order to allow as many people to see the photos without the need of everyone being in the same room.  The selection of the groups of the pictures was random, with focus on showcasing at least 5 different countries/volunteers on every wall. The pictures were displayed in IMs headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.

About 80 people attended the summer festival event. They got to be in different rooms and looked at different photos. Being the representative of the project, Kawthar got to got around, talk to people and answer questions.  Inspired by the photos, many questions were asked about both the volunteers and the photos they have taken. These question raised different discussions, between both the participants themselves and between Kawthar and the participants, about what being European means and what identifies a person. The similarities and differences between the photos raised many interesting discussions about how Europe looks like in the eyes of people from different countries.

Particularly two photos got the attention of the public were two different photos of two volunteers, one from the United Kingdom and the other from Germany, that were so similar that people thought that the volunteers were siblings and sometime the same person. This  similarity made Crossed Paths of Europe’s objective and aim clear; we are more similar than we think. The similarity shown by the photos, despite being physical, also got the participants to discuss the similarities in what people find beautiful, in what people value and what they identify themselves with.

Another interesting photo, is the one shown in the picture below. The photo of the strawberry, is a typical Swedish photo as people in the exhibition describe it. But what is interesting about the photo is that when asked to describe how the person who took the photo looked like and what they think the person’s background was; very few got the right answer: The photo was taken by a Swed with an immigrant background that doesn’t look like ‘a typical’ Swed.

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Outcome
The first exhibition of the project Crossed Paths of Europe prompted interesting discussions between attendees about the meaning of European identity. The exhibition, displaying similar yet different photos of people and places from different countries, widened people’s view on the European identity beyond the person’s background, physical appearance or accent. ‘We are more similar than we know’ is a conclusion that many of the attendees came to.  

If you are interested in our exhibitions, or would like us to organize one with your organisation/societies please let us know!

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