Did you recline comfortably in your beach chairs,
and gaze out into the horizon, 
as our children washed up on your shores? 

Did you sneer at your newspaper headlines over a warm breakfast, 
and curse your strange new neighbors, 
as the media whispered
that we were the ones to fear?

Or did you take our hands, 
and pull us from the water, 
before asking us for the stories that dragged us so far away
from the people we loved?

We are sons and brothers, just like you are. 
We've held hopes, and abandoned dreams, just as you have.
And like you, we have sworn to persevere;
so that we can one day provide for the families we have left behind.

There is pride;
even in the depths of our unspoken suffering. 
There is elegance;
even in the way that we carry burdens that would bury most men. 

And there is determination; 
nestled in the quiet knowledge that we will not be defined
by the horrors that have befallen us.

Ikire Jones FW16 23.jpg

From the bellies of crowded cargo ships.
From the teetering edges of toppling rafts.
And from the jaws of hungry seas
that threatened to swallow us every inch of the way.

We traveled across the world
to seek asylum.

Our hands may have been empty when we arrived.
But our hearts will always
be full.

FW16 "After Migration"

Photography by Neil Watson of 10Leaves.
Creative Direction/Design by Walé Oyéjidé


Locale: Italia.