By Cierra Steinke
Photos: Cierra Steinke
Editor: Mariia Lysikova
On the evening of February 14th, a temporary exhibition opened about Syrian life and refugees to make an impact on Klaipėda.
During Klaipėda’s busiest weekend of the season, LCC International University partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Klaipėda Lights Festival (Klaipėdos šviesų festivalis) to host this exhibition featuring a photo gallery, short documentary, and art installation.
Renata Kuleš, UNHCR representative in Lithuania, helped to partner with LCC for over a year while working on this project.
“It’s important for people in Lithuania to understand why so many flee their country,” Kuleš explained, “it becomes more clear that refugees run for their lives.”
Kuleš sees her work with the UNHCR as an effort to bring global knowledge to the local level. “You act locally, but you’re thinking globally,” she said.
Souhel Milad Al Kallas, a communications student from Syria, proposed the event idea back in 2017 and worked closely with it since. His art installation is meant to send a message of awareness to viewers.
“The installation is a summarization of what the refugees are going through. The mother’s heart will always be the lighthouse for her children and represents both Syria and motherhood,” he shared.
Even the venue itself was carefully chosen for its contribution to the exhibition.
“It’s very interesting actually. I could not imagine it in a 5-star hotel or a fancy place. This building looks sad, it needs reconstruction,” said Tamar Sardalishvili, a psychology student from Georgia.
Sardalishvili was drawn to visit because of her memories of the 2008 war in Georgia.
“I really wanted to express myself and show my respects,” Sardalishvili continued, “I know how it feels when someone has trouble this big.”
After viewing the displays and film she added “Now, I feel how they feel. I felt their pain. Now, I feel closer to them.”
The exhibit is open to the public from February 14-16 from 18:00-22:00. It’s located in the Viktorija Hotel, an abandoned building on the corner of Naujojo Sodo and H. Manto gatve.
“It’s really important to have more people coming and to collaborate on social change that is contagious to each other,” said Al Kallas and went on
to break stereotypes, to change images, and to love each other without labels or fear.
Milad Al Kallas
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