Art & Refugees: Shine the Light

Art & Refugees: Shine the Light gallery exhibition to highlight world refugee experience in Indianapolis in January 2019

In today’s world refugee crisis, an unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from their homes, the UN Refugee Agency reports. Among them are 25.4 million refugees, the majority of whom are children. A multi-arts exhibit coming to Indianapolis in January 2019 will highlight the complex intersection of art and refugees, telling the story of perseverance that transcends cultures, time, and religion.

Previously featured on CNN and PBS, Art & Refugees: Shine the Light will bring together glass, photography, and documentary art to create awareness of the refugee experience that crosses generations. The exhibit includes Todesmarche Revisited by Laura Donefer, an installation by of cast glass and cement footprints, some of which were taken from actual Holocaust survivors, telling the story of the forced marches and displacement. The glass installation is juxtaposed by German photographer Charlotte Schmitz’s Take me to Jermany photography installation, capturing the faces and experiences of displaced peoples living in refugee camps in Greece and Turkey, and excerpts of the Finding Home documentary by multi-Emmy Award Winning filmmaker David Marshall in collaboration with Deborah Haber, creator/playwright of the Moses Man: Finding Home musical.

Based at the Cultural Arts Gallery inside IUPUI’s Campus Center (420 University Blvd.), the exhibit with be open to the public, free of charge, January 9-31, 2019. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Members of the campus and community will have a chance to meet the artists at a Gallery Opening Reception at 4:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Atrium, which will include light refreshments and a short program.

Special thanks to the funders of this initiative including the IU College of Arts and Sciences Ostrom Grants Program, IU Office of the Bicentennial, IUPUI Office of International Affairs, IU Center for the Study of Global Change, U.S. Department of Education, Title VI funding, and IU Bloomington’s Center for the Study of the Middle East, African Studies Program, and Institute for European Studies.

About the Artists

  • Deborah Haber

    Deborah Haber is the Project Director and DEEP Arts’ Executive Artistic Director. She is a member of Dramatist Guild of America and has served as a theatre panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Regional Economic Council. Deborah initiated DEEP Arts partnership with Indiana University resulting in the pilot Art & Refugee Symposium in April 2017. Deborah is the creator/playwright of the Moses Man: Finding Home musical which has received support from numerous foundations and government sources including The National Endowment for the Arts. She has also initiated its attendant Shine the Light: Finding Home educational and outreach programming. Deborah is married to glass artist Michael Taylor and has curated numerous glass exhibitions associated with DEEP Arts. Artist involved have included: Dale Chihuly, Daniel Clayman, Alex Bernstein, Jack Schmidt, Sidney Hutter, Jiyong Lee, John Littleton & Kate Vogel, Charlie Miner, Stephen Powell, Paul Stankard, among many others. 

  • Laura Donefer

    Laura Donefer is a glass artist who will incorporate her 15-foot glass installation entitled “Todesmarche Revisited” honoring those who perished or were displaced during the Holocaust, participating and contributing to the film. Donefer has used glass as her primary medium for more than 30 years, combining it with diverse materials. Her work has been exhibited at Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art in Japan, Museo de Vidrio in Mexico, the Museum of Fine Art in Montreal, the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Museum of Fine Art in Quebec City, and the Corning Museum of Glass. She was awarded the Glass Art Association of Canada’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Donefer was trained as a glass artist at Sheridan College School of Craft and Design.

  • David Marshall

    David Marshall is a multi-Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and the president of Blue Sky Project. His documentary films reflect his interest in human rights and the power of contextualized history. His work as a producer, director, DP, and editor has taken him around the world many times in his 30-year career. He holds a B.S. in photography/film and an M.F.A. in fine art/animation. Blue Sky Project is conceived to create documentary films that are focused on underreported social issues that shape an open and enlightened society and that bring about a genuine understanding of and empathy for people and ideas that have been overlooked, discarded, forgotten. The filmmaker’s goal is to inspire ideas and action for real and lasting change.

  • Charlotte Schmitz

    Charlotte Schmitz is a German photographer who grew up in the cultural environment of the Danish minority near Flensburg. Take Me To Jermany is her exhibition of Polaroid photographs she has taken of and with refugees upon their arrival in Europe. Charlotte Schmitz studied photojournalism and documentary photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover. While living in Istanbul for two years, she worked for several German and international media outlets including Der Speigel. Charlotte joined the Finding Home: Shine the Light team through a feature highlighting her work on CNN. Charlotte speaks six languages, including Turkish and Spanish.

Meet the Artists: Art & Refugees Shine the Light Opening Reception
January 9, 2019, 4:30-6:30pm
Campus Center Atrium
420 University Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Affiliated Events

Art & Refugees Community Event: Exploring Stories of Holocaust and Displacement
Hosted by the Jewish Federation of Indianapolis
January 8, 2019, 7:00-8:30pm
Laikin Auditorium, JCC Indianapolis
6701 Hoover Rd.
Indianapolis, IN 46260
This program will explore the complex intersection of art and refugees, telling the story of perseverance that transcends cultures, time, and religion. The evening will feature testimonials from local Holocaust survivors as well as a panel of visiting artists. Participants can also view a photography exhibit of and by contemporary refugees in Europe.

Free event.

Refugees of the Holocaust, Refugees of Today
Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
IUPUI Hine Hall Auditorium, 875 W North St, Indianapolis, IN 46202
The panel discussion will be facilitated by Tamra Wright, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, will include IUPUI's scholar-in-residence, Adam Strom, Director of Re-Imagining Migration, and playwright Deborah Haber who is the daughter of Holocaust refugees. Join us for this humanitarian discussion.