Breaking Barriers

Ozlem, photographed by Jo Metson Scott

In October, the London-based charity Breaking Barriers put on an exhibition in London featuring photographic portraits of refugees to the UK. The photographs were accompanied by stories about each of their experiences of migration and the relationships they had formed on the way. I wrote the text for the exhibition, interviewing each of the 10 people to be featured, and turning those interviews into short first-person narratives that were displayed alongside the images at the Protein Gallery in London.

Selected photographs and stories were published by various media outlets. Stylist featured some of the women, while the BBC also chose a selection.

Here’s a short excerpt from Ozlem’s story (she is pictured above). You can read the rest of her story over at Stylist.

I didn’t want to go to jail. So I left the city, assumed a different identity, and worked. I was very young and couldn’t be in touch with my family. I didn’t want to leave Turkey, but after five years of living this way, I had no choice. In 1999 I came to the UK to join my sister, who came for the same reasons. Suddenly, I had nothing to hide and nobody to run from. I started to listen to myself, and remembering what I had gone through, I fell into a severe depression.

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