Department of Fine Arts, Marymount University
Designed and Fabricated by:
Joe Hicks, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, MFA, 2005
J.S. Herbert, Marymount Alumna, BA in Art, History and Political Science, 2017
Njoud Alkharji, Marymount Alumna, BA in Art/ minor in Ceramics, 2018
People do not choose to become refugees. They do so as a result of an uncontrollable outside force. Whether that force is manmade or natural, displacement from homes causes all sorts of stress on the people who are forced to abandon their homes as well as the neighboring societies. These are the people who had their homes, families and jobs set in places just like anyone else in the world. They were teachers, doctors, nurses, drivers, engineers, artists, builders, business owners, home makers, students and perhaps someone enjoying their retirement life. These are the undeserving victims of either something that went very wrong with Mother Nature or actions taken by those who are in power. These situations create difficult problems,
demanding complex solutions from the international community that challenges its humanity, charity, and problem-solving skills. The world decides the “status” of these people who have lost everything in an attempt to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones. While the world determines where they will end up, they wait anxiously in refugee camps, set up in host countries.
Status Undetermined investigates and portrays lives of people living in these refugee camps. It highlights the unavoidable dependence on the charity of the international neighborhoods to help these unfortunate individuals and families with basic necessities of life as well as compassion, empathy, humanity, and love. Status Undetermined alludes to the fact that many refugees will be displaced for years and may have to live in these camps either until it is safe for them to return to their homelands or be placed in countries thousands of miles away from their homes to start new lives. Many organizations and individuals in the international community are trying hard to make this transition as easy as they can for these people. While some are more successful than the others, the goal is the same, and that is to help the refugees survive through this tough time. Such an example is Camp Zaatari in Jordan for Syrian refugees. Though there are still acts of violence and victims of crime, this camp is one of a kind and has been a leading example for many camps that came after it.
According to a report from UNHCR in April 2018, there are currently 78,804 refugees at Camp Zaatari currently, with 20% under the age of 5 years old. A total of 6,500 people work for cash inside the camp and about 9,000 have work permits to have jobs in Jordan. Camp Zaatari is a perfect example of human beings’ resilience and need to survive. Camp Zaatari is located in the desert with temperatures that can go dangerously high in summers. Nonetheless, people are living in it and making the best of their time there. They have opened shops in the tin compartments and sell anything from sweets to kabobs to wedding dresses. They have in a way developed their own little economy, which isn’t quite enough to support them completely but it certainly does make a huge difference. Camp Zaatari also has the biggest solar power plant in all the refugee camps. Status Undetermined highlights many of these aspects to show not only the positive impact it makes when everyone in the world pitches in to help someone, but also the capability of people to stand back up on their feet no matter what the calamity.