WHAT MAKES THE MAN?
The title is a translation of the dutch saying.
„Wat maakt de man”.
I started this project thinking of the recent crisis, the refugees. They leave everything behind, their job their belongings, their family. What will define them? How can they represent their identity? In the news they always talk about „the refugees” But who are those people?
I visit a refugee camp for a couple of weeks. Talking, eating and playing football with refugees. In the news they talk about: „gelukszoekers” , people seeking for luck.
This term got a negative association by many people.
The people who I met in the refugee center are seeking for dignity, existence, peace, just being a human.
I started to raise questions, What makes us feel human?
In dutch we say ”Wat maakt de mens?” - What forms the human?. Where is our mental well-being based on?
What forms a human? What is your identity? What defines us? I photograph refugee and dutch people objects who are important for them according towards the above questions. What I notice is that allot of people put objects of their job or education in the picture. According to a research our modern society identity is 80% based on our job.
Having the importance to be yourself if you can use your knowledge, your interest & your passion.
I WORK, SO I AM
So after this I start to look how can refugees work here in the Netherlands. How do they find a job after having their working status. I photographed and interviewed, ex-refugees and dutch people in their work environment. What is the dutch working culture? What are the unwritten rules? I started and still working on a image dictionary, who will introduce the dutch working culture. Also I develop a database were you can see, what kind of knowledge those refugees bring with them towards the Netherlands.
Ali refugee from Syria said to me: „We get al those stuff form people of the Netherlands, that’s very kind. We don’t see the people, they just deliver and go home. But can we give something back? We do not only want to take. The koran says: You will become a bad man when you only take. This is what Assad does.”