In early August, eyes turned to the track as athletes from around the world descended on London to represent their countries at the IAAF Athletics World Championships.
Among the group of elite participants will be a small team of athletes with no country to represent at all; athletes who have fled the countries they once called home. Many of us will have been first introduced to the Refugee Team during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Refugee Team – six of whose athletes are competing in London this year – is supported by Tegla Loroupe’s Peace Foundation and Swiss sports brand On, who together are committed to the rebuilding of lives both on and off the track for the South Sudanese, Somalian, Congolese and Ethiopian-born athletes. As part of their on-going support, On has created the team uniform which also features the inscription ‘We are all one’ — not some catchy phrase created by a marketing department, but a wonderful expression that came straight from one of the refugee athletes.
ARTNAKED, along with our friends at TBurnsArts, were incredibly proud to collaborate with On and Tegla Loroupe’s Peace Foundation for an exhibition (from 8th August) and auction of world class photography from around the world, following the concept of the manifesto – ‘this is not a battlefield’ – donated by such artists as Daniel Meuli, Alexis Berg (whose work, taken at the Pico de Arieiro Trail in Madeira, Portugal, is pictured above), Marcus Smith and Thomas Stockli, as well as On’s sponsored athletes Javier Gomez Noya, Lisa Roberts and Mike Shifferle.
“This is not a battlefield.
This is not where we go to war
or where we destroy our enemies.
No… this is not where we come to fight.
I have seen war,
I have run from it,
this is not it.
This… this is peace.
This is where we celebrate the human spirit.
This is where we are all… one.”