Faces of Ukraine

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Exhibition "Faces of Ukraine"

More than 900,000 people from Ukraine fled to Germany before the war in their homeland.

The exhibition “Faces of Ukraine” draws attention to the individual fates of the refugees. It shows a selection of portrayed Ukrainians who have found refuge in Germany.

The pictures were taken when the refugees first arrived in Wolfenbüttel and were processed in the refugee accommodation facility Okeraue. They are portraits of people from all walks of life: construction workers, doctors, sales assistants, IT experts, athletes, scientists. These were some of their professions in Ukraine – until the war exiled them.

It was a conscious decision to choose the neutral form of passport pictures. The poses are not inherently elegant or trendy. This kind of picture takes on a special, symbolic meaning for the refugees. It’s associated with the first steps of a new beginning after they have been uprooted by the war. The newly arrived refugees need a passport picture on many occasions: for the foreigners’ registration office, for the social services department, for registering with a health insurance company – it’s always this picture that references their identity very matter-of-factly.

15 of the refugees have told us their stories. Most of them reported what they experienced on their escape routes only days after they arrived. We certainly don’t get the whole story but we at least learn about the part they were willing to share publicly. More often than not, they were still emotionally impacted by their escape. They told their stories in Russian or Ukrainian – in some cases in English. The interviews were conducted with the help of interpreters.

This project is first exhibited in shop windows in Wolfenbüttel’s pedestrian shopping streets. But why an exhibition? And why show it in the pedestrian shopping area? “The idea is to make people aware of the fact that refugees are people like you and me”, photographer Henning Kramer explains, who came up with the idea and is responsible for the realisation of the project. He sees the people who fled the war in Ukraine as an example for all other refugees. “It’s about showing that refugees had their every-day lives just like us – until war or a different disaster robbed them of their livelihood.”

In many cases, people become victims of war activities regardless of who they are. Ukrainians and foreigners living in Ukraine alike are forced to leave their homes in a rush to save their lives. Often, they can only take basic necessities. Reading the stories of their escape, you can’t help but notice that every fate is unique. No two stories are the same but they all share elements of fear, hardship, and not knowing what the next day will be like.

The exhibition “Faces of Ukraine” shows the example of 210 people who have suffered this fate, and wants to provide food for thought because the issue of refugees reaches far beyond the borders of Ukraine. According to UNO statistics, more than 100 million people worldwide were considered refugees in February 2022 – 10 million more than the previous year. And the number is rising.

Henning Kramer
Heart Hands Ukraine

Portrait of Henning Kramer:
The man behind the photographs, the idea, the concept and the realisation.

The exhibition “Faces of Ukraine” is personal, but very current: by showing portraits of Ukrainian refugees, its creator Henning Kramer calls on everybody to help where they can.

Henning Kramer is the creative force behind the exhibition “Faces of Ukraine”. Born in 1972 and having lived in Wolfenbüttel most of his life, the photographer and publisher of postcards is deeply rooted in his hometown. He is an elected member of the Wolfenbüttel town council and volunteers in charitable projects like helping Ukrainian refugees. He was inspired to put together an exhibition by the stories of how people left their home in order to flee the war.

Especially now that we are witnessing armed conflict in Europe, the father of two wants to call on people to help others by offering them refuge and provide some hope for a future life in Ukraine. Inspired by his ancestor, Henriette Schrader-Breymann – founder of educational institutions and protagonist of the kindergarten movement – matters of schooling and education have become a focus of his activities. This also led to the idea of fundraising for teaching materials and school equipment in the war-ravaged areas of Bucha and Irpin. Henning Kramer wants the exhibition “Faces of Ukraine” to promote cultural exchange and contribute to a more open Europe.

Ukraine Woman
Freie Ukraine Braunschweig
Ukraine Heart

Our partner for handling donations:

Freie Ukraine Braunschweig e.V. is a charity committed to the rebuilding efforts in Ukraine. www.freieukraine-braunschweig.de

Donations will be used for acquiring teaching materials for schools in Bucha and Irpin in Ukraine. We want to support schools in Ukraine because education is an important tool in making sure the next generations can promote peace, prevent future wars, and act in humankind’s best interest.

For accountability’s sake, we will update this website with reports of what the money from your donations was spent on, giving you a concrete idea of how your financial support helps rebuild schools in Ukraine.