Urban Refugees

Texts by Eduardo López Moreno®
Scrolls down


Integrated into the fabric of the city, without papers and without being enclosed by the barbed wire of the refugee camp, urban refugees are anonymous people. They are defined for what they are not: inhabitants without citizenship; men and women without face and home; children without their own space and privacy.  Despite the fact that they represent half of the nearly 11 million refugees in the world, they are one of the most kept secret in many cities around the world.

Urban refugees inhabit the centre of strange spaces. Something that belongs to them becomes nothing and themselves that are somebody become nobody. They often live in unsafe and risky places that paradoxically are safer than their homes. They arise more suspicions than certainties and more doubts than trust. Cities where they live remind them constantly that they are strangers in the place. Borders are continuously erected where they are and where they go. Still, with patience, they try to open a future in these walls and find their way in the street labyrinths they walk.


This photographic project aims to give life to people who are often spectral identities that live without dialogue, with few questions and no answers. Their lives are realities that are not ephemeral but tirelessly repeated acts, which end up creating a constant that we do not see and we do not hear.


Large contingents of urban refugees are found in cities. The images presented here were taken to the Somalis urban refugees in Nairobi, Kenya. These pictures find difficult to recreate vanished homelands, defaulting memories and ocean waves that do not return. As deprived of words, as these pictures are, they still talk. They murmur sounds of hope like the shells from the sea. They tell us of the efforts from nobody to become again somebody. We need to bring the ear closer to listen what they say.