Few can imagine what it is like to be stateless. Now a new photo exhibit “Nowhere People,” opening Thursday, Sept. 14 at Roosevelt University’s Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, tells the story.
With its first showing ever in Chicago, “Nowhere People” by photographer Greg Constantine features 39 black-and-white photographs of children who have no citizenship, and therefore, no place to call their true home.
“This is a documentary photo exhibit that aims to give a voice to the voiceless,” said Mike Ensdorf, director of Roosevelt’s Gage Gallery. “Greg Constantine sheds light with his work on what it’s like to be without things we take for granted – a home, education, employment, health care, a secure identity – and that’s significant given the current debate we are having in this country about immigration and taking away rights of those without citizenship.”
A native of Carmel, Ind., Constantine spent 10 years photographing thousands of stateless people in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic, Ukraine, Serbia, Italy, the Netherlands, Iraq Kuwait and Lebanon. He will speak about his experiences and the importance of the exhibit at an opening reception that begins at 5 p.m. Sept. 14 at Gage.
“Statelessness is an issue of global proportion,” said Constantine, a self-taught documentary photographer and photography book publisher whose depictions of people without citizenship have been featured by the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, The New Republic, The Atlantic, South China Morning Post, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, Virginia Quarterly Review, Internazionale, CNN and Al Jazeera.
While the United Nations has estimated 10 million people around the world today are stateless, Constantine believes that number is much higher. In addition, he believes that children of those without citizenship are impacted the most, which makes the Roosevelt exhibit not only unique, but also extremely powerful.
“It’s important for people to understand that stateless children live in total insecurity. They don’t know what is coming from one day to the next, they have no control over their lives or the future of their families or communities,” said Constantine.
“My intention with this exhibit is to give them a voice and spark discussion and debate about statelessness in general and what we can do specifically to assure that a new generation in this quandary is assured a secure future.”
The exhibit runs until December 2 and is free and open to the public. Gage Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, visit www.roosevelt.edu/gagegallery or call 312-341-6458.