The earth is closing on us
1 May 2019

‘The earth is closing on us’
Rohingya Refugees in Exile

Where do you belong if nobody accepts you as a citizen with human rights? How does do you prove your ethnicity when you are the victim of systemic violence over decades? How do you build a life in makeshift camps when you know you are neither from here nor from there?

How you bury your dead in someone else’s land? 

Since the brutal attacks on Rohingya communities by the Myanmar Border Guard Police on 25 August 2017, 656,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh from the northern parts of Myanmar’s Rakhine State*. At least 6,700 Rohingya, including 730 children under age of 5, were killed. According to the NGO Doctors Without Borders, hundreds of villages were destroyed. The United Nations have termed these events a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

The earth is closing on us – Rohingya Refugees in Exile is an attempt to trace the contemporary condition of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, through photographs, archival material, found footage, video, drawing and sound. These interventions, drawing on a range of media, come together to address the various modalities of statelessness experience by the Rohingya.

The title The Earth Is Closing on Us is taken from a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. 

*Rohingya refugees have been fleeing to Bangladesh from Myanmar since the 1970s.

Curated by Sarker Protick & Munem Wasif