Creative director Marksteen Adamson met and made friends with many of the refugees he photographed in Lebanon, Calais and the UK. Read some of their stories in his own words.
Station 01 | Alone
Battling with the crushing emotional and psychological weight of what lay ahead, Jesus chose to do what love required of him. Although he knew that he would have to face the ordeal alone, he had hoped that his friends would at least support him. But when he returned to where he had left them in the Garden of Gethsemane, he discovered they had fallen asleep.
It takes effort to stay alert and ‘awake’, to engage with the stories of torment, anguish and suffering that are often masked by the phrase ‘refugee crisis’. Weariness, preoccupation with our own concerns and apathy can so often get the better of us.
Station 03 | Justice
When Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of the time, there were so many religious leaders who opposed him in it that the chances of him getting a fair hearing were slim.
The trial reflects how justice is compromised if the instruments of law are used to serve narrow interests and powerful elites. In the case of the Iraqis and Afghanis who helped British forces, the question of what is the right thing to do seems clear cut. But decision making is so often clouded by other considerations.
Station 05 | Outlaw
Jesus’ enemies appealed to Pilate because as governor he had the power to execute him. The events that unfolded were about the Roman leader’s attempts to keep the peace, avoid stirring up trouble and maintain his position as opposed to doing the right thing. Pilate tried different strategies, attempted to find a way out by presenting Barabbas to the crowd in the hope that they would agree to Jesus’ release.
During all of this, Jesus said very little, but what he did say suggests he was operating according to a different set of rules and values. What defines us? At a time when the authorities are seeking to tag refugees and otherwise put a question mark over their identity, the churches, theatres, cafés that have sprung up in the camps are a symbol of creative resistance, a sign that people have the potential to move to a different rhythm, to be something other than what the authorities dictate.
Station 06 | Humiliation
Together, he and I chose this concept using barbed wire to best represent the trials and tribulations he has endured in recent years as a refugee living in the UK.
The crown of thorns was an ironic mockery, part of a ritual of humiliation and violence that was worse than any animal would receive. Yet it was Jesus’ actions and his choices while enduring such torture that would ultimately define him.
Refugees are humiliated and diminished in many ways, from the language we use, to the building of fences, the use of barbed wire and tagging. In spite of this, many, like Karzan, are determined to overcome the obstacles they face and shape their own destiny. In another context, theirs might be told as inspirational stories of triumph over adversity.
Station 08 | Compelled
Exhausted and close to death, Jesus could not go on, so Roman soldiers ordered Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross. One of the crowd until that point, Simon didn’t have much choice but to do what he was ordered to do. The situation may have been beyond his control, but later accounts suggest that this was to be a life-changing experience for Simon and future generations of his family.
Living in constricted circumstances, in situations not of their choosing, refugees have found lasting friendships. Others can’t resist the call to be good neighbours, travelling to the camps as volunteers, opening up their homes and communities to people in need.
Station 12 | Family
Her teenage son and daughter were living with their grandmother all this time, but when she died, they set off to find their mother. They got as far as Calais, where they are still living – alone and desperate to be reunited with their mother and the rest of their family. All the families’ documentation was lost when their house in Iraq was destroyed, and the mother has no proof that they are her biological children.
In one of his final acts, Jesus bound together his mother Mary and his friend John as mother and son, knowing that they would need each other’s love and support. We seem instinctively to understand the importance and value of family. Is there a way that we can extend this awareness towards all families and be willing to let them be reunited, or create new networks of support and friendship for those left without a family?
Don't miss the exclusive follow-up, "The Making of The Stations", in the May issue of Premier Christianity. Request a free copy.