Red Star Line Museum’s ‘Stories of Refuge’ exhibition explores what it means to be on the run, beyond laws and political agreements.
Russia’s horrendous invasion of Ukraine is leading to millions of refugees throughout Europe as people flee their homes. So it’s an apposite time to look at an exhibition on refugees opening soon in Antwerp.
This post is a reblog from Trip by Trip, one of my favourite Belgian blogs. The blog is written by Timothy and Danny, two natives of Antwerp. Here, Timothy introduces us to a fascinating exhibition opening soon at the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, on the highly relevant topic of refugees. But that’s not all, he also kindly links to 20 or so other museums in Antwerp that he has covered on his blog in recent years. So in otherwise, it’s an Antwerp Museumfest! Enjoy, and over to you Timothy:
From 1 April, and no it’s not an April’s Fool joke, the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp hosts the ‘Stories of Refuge‘ exhibition. Obviously, this exhibition was planned way before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Nevertheless, the theme is very topical.
In 2021, it was exactly 70 years since the Refugee Convention was signed by 24 countries in Geneva. In the aftermath of World War II, this convention established the definition of a refugee and who was entitled to asylum. Even today, there are 80 million people fleeing their countries worldwide, and this is the subject of much discussion in our society.
To mark this anniversary, the Red Star Line Museum is creating the ‘Stories of Refuge’ exhibition. It explores what it means to be on the run, beyond laws and political agreements. People with a story of refuge tell their story, while personal objects and interviews bring it to life.
The Red Star Line Museum tells the story of two million passengers who once made the crossing to America on the Red Star Line’s steamships. Some of them would be considered as refugees today. It shows that this is not merely an actual issue of the past few years. Throughout history, millions of people left their homes through wars and crises, seeking safety.
Here is a short video with English sub-titles introduing the museum:
Coming to Belgium
The ‘Stories of Refuge’ exhibition will be an authentic journey along stories of refugees who have come to Belgium over the last 70 years. Stories of frustration, uncertainty and trauma, as well as courage, resilience and persistence. What decisions did they have to make during their journeys? Who did they meet along the way? What about the label ‘refugee’? Will they ever not be a ‘refugee’?
World Refugee Day
On June 20, 2021, International World Refugee Day, Red Star Line asked Vida, Noor, Angela and Zakaria to describe what this day means to them. The resulting film is a collaboration between Atlas Antwerp, the Red Cross asylum for refugees ‘Linkeroever’ and the Red Star Line Museum. It’s in different languages and only subtitled in Dutch, so it might not be accessible to everyone:
The exhibition ‘Stories of Refuge’ opens on April 1, 2022. More information can be found here: Red Star Line Museum Antwerp.
Art and museums in Antwerp
Here are some other museums in Antwerp that Danny and I have visited over the years:
- 2022 in the museums of Antwerp.
- ANTWERP | Inside Rubens House.
- ModeMuseum MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp 2021.
- ‘Freight’ and ‘Listen’ exhibitions at MAS in Antwerp.
- ‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’ exhibition at FOMU, Antwerp’s photography museum.
- Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp.
- ‘Eurasia – A Landscape of Mutability’ exhibition at Antwerp’s M HKA modern arts museum.
- ANTWERP | Geert De Weyer Gallery, a space for illustrators’ and comic strip authors’ art.
- ‘Congoville’: contemporary artists walk colonial paths at Middelheim Museum in Antwerp.
- Antwerp’s Letterenhuis ft. Paul van Ostaijen exhibition.
- ModeMuseum MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp reopens on 4 and 5 September 2021 with ‘Fashion 2.021 Antwerp – Fashion/Conscious’.
- Museum Plantin-Moretus will exhibit long-lost illustration by Rubens: ‘Opticorum Libri Sex’.
- Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Antwerp finally to reopen on 25 September 2022.
- ‘100 X Congo’ exhibition at Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp.
- ‘Cool Japan’ exhibition, Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, 18 October 2019 to 19 April 2020.
- REVIEW | ‘Cool Japan’ exhibition at Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp from 18 October 2019 to 19 April 2020.
- ‘On the road’ at Museum Plantin-Moretus.
- Paleis op de Meir.
- Museum Mayer van den Bergh.
- DIVA, Antwerp Home of Diamonds.
Thanks Timothy for introducing us to these outstanding museums to visit in Antwerp!
How appropriate and timely. I’ve observed both in Europe and the US that all refugees are not treated equitably.
True, but then people in general are not treated equitably.
Very interesting this museum. I have visited already twice. Why not a third time
Good idea! Especially as they have new exhibitions.
A timely post!
Very interesting, considering the current world situation. I was watching footage on the TV news of people walking across the border with one suitcase each. It made me wonder what I would take if I was forced to leave my home like that. What a terrible decision to have to make.
It sounds like a powerful exhibition, especially in our times.