On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the United Nations Office at Geneva hosts an exhibition by Israeli artist Orna Ben-Ami entitled "Entire Life in a Package." The exhibit, which includes welded iron sculptures combined with Reuters photographs of refugees in various situations, focuses on the plight of refugees and migrants around the world.
Displayed at the UN European Headquarters from June 20 to 30, 2017, the opening took place on World Refugee Day, Tuesday, with the support of the permanent missions of Israel, the United States and Canada, and the participation of Michael Møller, UNOG director-general, and Kelly Clements, deputy high-commissioner for refugees.
"I was shocked and moved by the view of the refugees over the past few years and I wanted to bring this sad and painful subject to the forefront of world opinion," said Ben-Ami. "Iron expresses the will of the displaced to hold on strongly to their identity and renders them eternal and meaningful, like metal monuments."
Israel's ambassador to the UN and other organizations in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, saw special significance in hosting this exhibition at the UN headquarters in Geneva: "Here at the United Nations, the words 'refugee' and 'migrant' are at the center of so many discussions. … But these discussions are void if we forget the individuals behind them, their stories, and their physical and practical needs."
"The State of Israel has absorbed hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants since its establishment. It is an inspiring example of the invaluable contribution they brought to our nation." the ambassador concluded.
Ben-Ami's work has appeared in galleries and museums in the United States, Italy, France, Taiwan, Mexico and Israel. Forty of her outdoor sculptures are placed in public spaces in Israel and Germany.