In December 2015, Marieke van der Velden and Philip Brink concluded their “The Island of All Together” project on Lesbos..
In December 2015, Marieke van der Velden and Philip Brink concluded their “The Island of All Together” project on the Greek island of Lesbos. The project offers an alternative perspective on the European refugee crisis, and includes portraits, a documentary short and an interactive website.
In March 2015, van der Velden and Brink made the documentary film ‘Outside Syria’ at refugee camps in Lebanon. Here they witnessed how overfull the region of Syria had become due to the ongoing war: “It was not difficult to understand that in the upcoming summer, when the sea is calm, a large number of these refugees would try to reach Europe. In may, two Syrian friends of us, made the illegal boat trip to Greece. This made us decide to do a new project.”
Lesbos is one of the Greek islands that is closest to the Syrian region, as it is located only eight kilometres from Turkey. During the summer of 2015, thousands of refugees arrived on the island, looking for a safe haven in the European Union. Meanwhile, many European tourists also traveled to Lesbos for a sunny holiday. This contrast inspired van der Velden and Brink to make a documentary in which the tourists and refugees would come together.
They invited tourists and refugees to talk one another about life while sitting on a little bench overlooking the sea. The result is a short documentary with conversations of war, fleeing, home, work, love, but also cars and pets. Their whole project is an ode to humanism and shows what happens when we take time to sit down and talk with each other in stead of about each other.
Philip Brink (art director) and Marieke van der Velden (photographer) are a couple from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Along with their commercial assignments for companies and NGO’s, they conduct a project of their own together every year. In these projects they try, without being in denial of the daily news, to add a nuance to the enormous amount of extreme news reports people are presented with on a daily basis. Their previous projects brought them to Kabul, Afghanistan and the refugee camps of Lebanon.