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Achilleas Souras’s installation is a response to the current global refugee crisis that the world is facing.
It proposes the re-use of a by-product of this crisis which is the common life jacket to provide low-cost temporary shelters to help refugees. In few months, more than 45,000 discarded life jackets have accumulated on the Greek island of Lesbos. Two years ago, Achilleas, who was a 15-year-old student, wanted to help in some way. Using his creative childlike wonder to respond to the situation he saw the life jackets as more than a throw-away item. The images of discarded lifejackets reached iconic levels. “When you hold the jacket in your hand and you smell the sea, you look at things through a different prism and you realize that every jacket represents a human life”, says Souras.
Souras’ architectural response to the refugee crisis is an igloo constructed of 35 fully functional life vests, velcro, and six structural poles. A practical housing solution for refugee camps, and a symbolic project to raise awareness. He credits part of his “can do” attitude to a four-week intensive summer workshop designed to introduce high-school students to architecture and design. “The refugees, the homeless, and the less privileged cannot be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ anymore,” Souras says. “These are global issues that affect us all, and we must try to solve them for everyone’s sake.”
Achilleas was born in London and comes from an international background. He has lived in London, New York, Barcelona and Athens where he is now currently at school studying for his International Baccalaureate.
The SAVE OUR SOULS installation has been showcased in museums and art fairs in Barcelona, London, Cape Town, Bologna, Milano, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Bangkok.