‘Chrysalis’ is a portrait series recognizing and celebrating the individuality of refugee women living in Greece. Eleven women from Syria, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan take the stage in golden costumes made out of emergency blankets. The portraits and accompanying texts draw out their vastly different experiences and paths of migration, while the setting places the women’s courageous expression at the heart of each image.
More than 1.2 million people fleeing conflict, violence and persecution have traveled through Greece during the past five years, undertaking perilous sea journeys in search of safety and a better life in Europe. But the closure of the Balkan borders and an EU-Turkey deal has trapped some 103,500 refugees in Greece, with most languishing in squalid conditions.
Driven by the symbolism of the color gold, I repurposed the material that has become synonymous with the refugee journey and turned it into a garment. Each costume, created in collaboration with designer Guram Chachanidze, is a reflection of the women’s spirit.
Chrysalis refers to a nymph in its final stage of transformation. Going from a larva to a butterfly is a moment of great change for the species, still bodied in a golden cocoon and ready to unfold new wings.