Winter 2017

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


Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. You can see what Eye 93 looks like at Eye before You Buy on Vimeo.

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