Escaping Wars and Waves: Encounters with Syrian Refugees
School of Visual Arts presents “Escaping Wars and Waves: Encounters with Syrian Refugees,” an exhibition of work from Olivier Kugler’s (MFA 2002 Illustration as Visual Essay) award-winning book of the same name. The exhibition is on view Saturday, January 19, through Saturday, February 9, at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, 209 East 23rd Street, New York City.
Olivier Kugler is an internationally known artist who worked for four years documenting the experiences of Syrian refugees he met in Iraqi Kurdistan, Greece, France, Germany, Switzerland and England, primarily on assignment for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). His goal for this project was to expose a larger audience to the plight of the refugees. His work combines the best of location illustration with journalism. His interviews with individuals, combined with his notes and reference photography, create visual landscapes filled with personal stories of suffering and survival.
Sections from Kugler’s book have been published in Harper's (USA), The Guardian (UK), Port (UK), Internazionale (Italy), Le Monde Diplomatique (Germany) and Annabelle (Switzerland). Drawings published in Harper's featuring Syrians that Kugler met in Iraqi Kurdistan won the Overall Winner honor at the 2015 World Illustration Awards. Dem Krieg Entronnen, the German edition of Escaping Wars and Waves, won the 2018 European Design Award. The project has previously been exhibited in England, Switzerland, France, Germany and Finland, and was initially partly funded by a grant from Arts Council England.
The MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at SVA is designed to maximize students’ opportunities as artists, from the conventional gallery wall to the full range of 21st-century media. The program fuses the development of creative thinking with technical and communication skills. Additional focus is placed on best practices in navigating the visual art marketplace while empowering students to choose making art as a way of life.