In many cases where photographing or filming refugees has been inappropriate, invasive, or endangered their safety, illustrators are able to document situations and events that may otherwise have remained unknown. A reportage illustrator such as Nick Ellwood can draw portraits of those who might not want to be identified to give us a sense of people that he met in Calais. Many of the reportage illustrators in the exhibition have also said that using the medium of drawing allowed them to engage with people in ways that a camera would not. The much more personal, tactile quality of drawing and the time it takes to create allowed them to get to know their subjects and listen to their stories.
Curator Katie Nairne at the House of Illustration in London (via Creative Review) on current exhibit Journeys Drawn: Illustration from the Refugee Crisis. The show includes the work of graphic journalist Olivier Kugler, who reports from lesser-covered Syrian refugee camps. I wrote about Kugler’s work for Hyperallergic in September.