Room 26.10.12

Intimate series on Serbian asylum family living in a 12m2 room of a Belgian Asylum centre waiting for their visa after being 10 years in Belgium.

During an assignment for the Belgian federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers (Fedasil) I met a young Serbian family, Shaban, Haria and their four children (who were all born in Belgium). They had come to Belgium in 1998 and were still awaiting decisive answers with regard to their visa when I met them in a Belgium refugee centre in 2008.

Especially Haria’s personality struck me very much. She seemed both so strong and confident and yet so fragile and naive. I felt somehow drawn to them and that’s how it started that I visited them again and again.

In this intimate series I wanted to focus on the personal turbulence of their uncertain family life within the confines of their 12 m² room (Room26.10.12), in which they squandered most of their time with useless pastimes and worrying about their future.

On a second level the series criticizes a failing Belgian asylum policy. For years on end no Belgian government had succeeded in establishing clear and functional immigration policies and regulations. By this period of time asylum centres were overcrowded and files were being treated without any urgency, causing people to live in asylum centres for years on end, with no progress. By 2010 the Belgian government even had to book hotel rooms to accommodate the ever growing number of asylum seekers.

In 2010 this family became regularised by a rule of the Belgian government to cope with the space restrictions in the Asylum centres and now try to build up their independent life.

The series received the 2nd prize in the Dexia Press Award 2008.

  • ‘Perception meets Reality’ (BE, 2010)
    Exhibition Views: [1]

    Group exhibition with international photographers on the differences between West- and Central Europe nowadays.
    Location: Community house, Bruge (BE)
    Dates: 12.10 – 31.10.2010