Portrait of Yusra Mardini (1998, Syria-)

Sasha Huber Saarikko

Research output: Artistic and non-textual formArtefactSolo art productionpeer-review


As part of the "Sea of the Lost" (2016) artwork shown within the "In Search of the Present" exhibition at EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art in 2016 I portrayed the teenager and professional swimmer Yusra Mardini from Damascus, Syria. Through special circumstances I got to meet her in Berlin in June 2016. In August 2015 she and her sister Sarah decided to flee after their home was destroyed. They reached Turkey via Lebanon. In Turkey they embarked alongside 16 others on a rubber boat that was made for a maximum of seven persons. Soon after their departure the motor stopped and the boat started to fill with water. Yusra, her sister and two other passengers who could swim decided to get into the water to push the boat. After 3.5 hours they reached Greece safely. The entire journey took them through six countries altogether and they eventually reached Berlin. Soon afterwards Yusra took up swimming again and joined a Swim club. Her dream of participating in the Olympics at some time in her life came true sooner than expected in Summer 2016, after the Olympic committee announced the first ever Refugee Olympic Athletes Team, which she qualified to join.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventIn Search of the Present: Portrait of Yusra Mardini (1998, Syyria-) - EMMA Emma Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland
Duration: 12 Oct 20168 Jan 2017

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