“Chrysalis” is a portrait series recognizing and celebrating the individuality of cisgender and transgender women refugees and asylum seekers living in Greece.
Hailing from countries such as Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cameroon and Congo, the participants take the stage clad in golden costumes fashioned out of emergency blankets. The portraits and accompanying texts depict each woman’s different experience and path of migration, while the setting places her courageous expression at the heart of the image.
Since 2014, more than 1.2 million people fleeing conflict, violence and persecution have traveled through Greece, undertaking perilous voyages in search of safety and a better life in Europe. Some 100,000 still remain in the country, with the majority languishing in squalid conditions.
Driven by the symbolism the color gold has, I repurposed the material that has become synonymous with the refugee journey and, in collaboration with designer Guram Chachanidze, turned it into a garment. Each costume is unique and reflects the women’s spirit.
Chrysalis refers to the final stage a larva goes through before transforming into an adult butterfly. It is the moment of a great change for this species which, still enclosed in its golden cocoon, is preparing to unfold its wings for the very first time.