Olivier Kugler: bearing witness
This contemporary illustrator uses his ears and eyes – plus a camera, digital voice recorder, sketchbook, pencil, scanner and laptop – to document stories of exile, displacement and the complex reality of refugees’ lives
On a sunny afternoon in the autumn of 2016, illustrator Olivier Kugler travels to Birmingham in the UK to meet Wisam, a Syrian refugee with a young family. Wisam has a story to tell and Kugler is going to turn it into pictures. Over the past few years, Kugler has been interviewing refugees and others affected by the current crisis, drawing their pictures and telling their stories, which he will eventually turn into a book. Kugler meets Wisam and his children Mohamad (eleven) and Ranem (eight) at their new school, and then accompanies them back to their flat, where he also interviews Hadya, Wisam’s pregnant wife, taking more pictures.
Photograph of Olivier Kugler by David Levene, 2016.
Top: Opening spread from ‘Escaping Wars and Waves: drawings by Olivier Kugler’ in Harper’s Magazine, February 2014.
John L. Walters, editor of Eye, London
Read the full version in Eye no. 93 vol. 24, 2017
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