The Annenberg Space For Photography Exhibit “Refugee” Will Humble You
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First off, the Annenberg Space for Photography does a masterful job of transforming Century Park from a non-descript, corporate ghost town into a warm human space. Picnic vibes, beer garden vibes, concert vibes. So many vibes. And all combining to create a harmonious little village of rad as the sunset casts dramatic architectural shadows from the towering skyscrapers that frame the stage.
Because each Sound In Focus concert is free, tons of people showed up early to take advantage of the opportunity to chill on the lawn or check out the current exhibit at the Annenberg, an exhibit that I should note is simply amazing. A documentation of refugees from around the world, you better brace yourself for the feels because the second you step into the halls of that gallery, you’re confronted with the very brutal visual reality of people whose lives have been violently uprooted and thrust into indefinite limbo.
Oh, you have that friend who says, “Trump wins and I’m moving to Canada”? Yeah, that’s not the casual decision tree being followed by the displaced people in Syria or Central America or dozens of other places around the world right now … as you read this … in real time. That’s what juices up the intensity of the exhibit – the right-now-ness of it. You’re not looking at historical artifacts. You’re looking at the reflection of people and events in near real-time.
“I can’t think of an issue more important and vital than the global refugee crisis. Now more than ever, we need to go beyond superficial readings of this worldwide concern in order to understand its deeply human ramifications. In this powerful exhibit, I believe we do. I believe we go to a place that only great and stirring art can truly go—deep into the humanity of the refugee crisis, as seen through the eyes of some of the greatest photographers alive. These extraordinary and visionary artists don’t advocate, they illuminate; they don’t argue a position, they enlighten. I believe it’s essential viewing, so we don’t just see what’s happening in our world, we feel it.” – Annenber Foundation Chairman of the Board, President and CEO Wallis Annenberg
Featuring images created solely for the exhibition by five internationally acclaimed artists-Lynsey Addario, Omar Victor Diop, Graciela Iturbide, Martin Schoeller, and Tom Stoddart- the exhibit is a pretty heavy reminder that nobody, stateside at least, would ever make the migration these people are making. Not by choice. So it’s hard not to feel some humility and a ton of compassion when you see the photographic and video documentation of the courage, perseverance, as well as the heartache and loss that these many peoples endure as they scrape to keep their head above water. Literally. Almost a little too much for a horde of frollicking urbanites slamming beers in Century City. And a provocative segue for the any opening band that graces the Sound In Focus stage.
The Annenberg Space for Photography is a cultural destination dedicated to exhibiting photography. The intimate environment features state-of-the-art, high-definition digital technology as well as traditional prints by both world-renowned and emerging photographers. It is the first solely photographic cultural destination in the Los Angeles area. The Photography Space conveys a range of human experiences and serves as an expression of the philanthropic work of the Annenberg Foundation and its directors. Admission his free and the are open Wednesday through Sunday, 11am – 6pm.