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Ungrievable Lives – 23 June-July 3.

Where Will these Children Find a Home?

This powerful installation by Chelsea artist Caroline Burraway, comprising 13 children’s dresses, handmade from refugee lifejackets she gathered at the Lifejacket Graveyard in Lesvos, Greece, will be presented during the festival at a secret location. Subscribe for updates instagram @karmabanklondon, twitter #karmabanklondon, or here, or email

UNGRIEVABLE LIVES, comprises 13 children’s dresses, handmade from refugee lifejackets the artist, Caroline Burraway gathered at the Lifejacket Graveyard in Lesvos, Greece, hanging from old iron and brass weighing hooks above piles of sand.  Each dress represents 1 of the 13 million child refugees worldwide, signifying the absent body and evoking memory, absence and loss.  The dresses are an invitation to the viewer to meditate and contemplate the story of the refugee’s journey and loss as they try to reach the shores of Europe.   Dirty, torn, patched together, a mixture of faded oranges, pinks and reds, at first glance they look like any small 3/4 year old dress a young child may wear, your child, my child, any child….  but a closer look slowly confronts the viewer with the realisation of what they’re made from and what they embody.  

The scales, an ancient symbol of justice, signify the weighing of the body and soul, embodying the difficult question: “What is the differential value of a Western life compared to the value of the life of the refugee, arriving at the border of the Western world?” 

The piles of sand at the bottom of each dress represent physical/ real, political/ fictional, and cultural/ symbolic borders and – like sands – are forever shifting and changing over time. Man-made boundaries, including linguistic, economic and social, conspire to create further division. Yet the movement of people has been constant throughout history. Migrants, refugees, the displaced and stateless, continue to make up an increasing number of the world population and the symbolic boundaries of identity and culture which make nations, the segmentation between “us” and “them” which is so apparent today will, over time, become redrawn as new forms of cultural diversity are introduced. 

Information at Elbphilharmonie

Article from The Guardian

Following a premiere at the ELBPhilharmonie in Hamburg, Ungrievable Lives tours to other venues across the globe,  accompanying a new composition for string quartet by composer Charlotte Bray, inspired by Burraway’s work.

Supported by UNHCR. Curated by Andrew Standen-Raz. Artist information