Two women smiling
press overview

Strength Away From Home

Foam proudly presents the exhibition Strength Away From Home at Mercatorplein’s public space in Amsterdam West. The project is initiated in collaboration with KLABU, an Amsterdam-based non-profit organisation that supports refugees through sports. It marks World Refugee Week and reflects upon the courage and resilience shown by millions of refugees worldwide who have been torn from their familiar environment and forced to build a new life away from home. The exhibition shows the work of photographer Coco Olakunle which aims to break through existing stereotypes and shift the visual narrative surrounding refugees, empowering their personal voices.

Press release | Amsterdam, May 2024

Over the past decade, Foam has been focusing on addressing the current reality of migration through artistic reflection. In a world that is more splintered than ever, notions of place and belonging have gained unprecedented relevance. KLABU sets up clubhouses, in refugee camps in countries such as Kenya, Bangladesh, Greece, Brazil, and closer to home, in Ter Apel and in Amsterdam on the Haarlemmerdijk, connecting refugees and host communities. Photographer Coco Olakunle has been closely involved with KLABU since its inception in 2019. Olakunle’s work shows the KLABU community in refugee camps such as Kalobeyei (Kenya) and Lesbos (Greece). In doing so, she explicitly captures people in a collaborative way, which allows them to be in control of how they are represented. As a self-taught image maker, Olakunle explores social issues and investigates their role in photography. With this collaborative project, Foam and KLABU present visual storytelling to allow a look at the world from different perspectives.

Unity Day for World Refugee Week 2024

World Refugee Week (17-23 June) falls in the time span of this exhibition where Foam and KLABU shed light on the spirits of the people in refugee camps. On Saturday 22 June (from 12.00-17.00 hrs), refugees, other newcomers and local Amsterdammers are warmly invited to unite on Mercatorplein for a festive afternoon. Through photography workshops by artist Coco Olakunle, participatory sports activities involving professional athletes and the sharing of food, drinks and music, Foam and KLABU aim to create an active community and a level playing field for all, and make space to celebrate the contribution refugees can make to our city and society.

Two boys looking at a football game together photograph taken in Kenya 2019

Two boys watching a football match together. Photo taken in Kenya, 2019

© Coco Olakunle / KLABU.

Two women smiling

Hibo and Hani from Somalia. Photo taken in Kenya, 2019

© Coco Olakunle / KLABU.

Boy boxing

Rustem from Afghanistan. Photo taken in Greece, 2024

© Coco Olakunle / KLABU.

women facing the sun

Aisha from Somalia. Photo taken in Kenya, 2019

© Coco Olakunle / KLABU.


As an NGO and social enterprise, KLABU supports and empowers refugees worldwide through sports, with the mission of becoming the sports club that can change the world. KLABU believes that sport creates perspective, offering refugees dignity and hope, pride and self-confidence, bridging differences and creating connections. Everyone is invited to join the club and support sports projects for refugees by wearing KLABU sportswear, available at or in the KLABU Store & Clubhouse at Haarlemmerdijk 106 in Amsterdam.

About Galerie Mercatorplein

Foam and the Amsterdam-West district have been working together for years in realising several exhibitions at Mercatorplein. With Gallery Mercatorplein Foam contributes to the goal of Amsterdam-West to shape Mercatorplein as the living room of the De Baarsjes neighbourhood. Foam regularly shows photography outside its walls with exhibitions on location to introduce photography to the widest possible audience.

Strength Away From Home can be seen at Mercatorplein from 6 June – 8 July 2024.

Keizersgracht 609 
1017 DS  Amsterdam 
The Netherlands 
+ 31 (0)20 5516500 

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Galerie Mercatorplein is made possible by Gemeente Amsterdam, Stadsdeel West.

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