Irish photographer Richard Mosse, who won the 2017 Prix Pictet prize in May for his thermographic images of refugee camps, says he was arrested last Thursday on the Greek island of Chios while working on a project documenting refugees, The Art Newspaper reports.
Mosse says he was on the island to film an episode of Bloomberg’s “Brilliant Ideas” series. He was observing an anti-immigrant rally when he was arrested by undercover Greek police. In an Instagram post, Mosse says he was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and taken to jail.
In an email to The Art Newspaper, he wrote that “the police seemed to jump to the conclusion, based on me being a foreigner and wearing black, that I was an anarchist and must be arrested. I hurt no one; spoke to no one; bumped into no one; harassed nobody. If, as an EU citizen, I can be treated in this way by a European police force, how then are stateless and vulnerable refugees treated?” According to reports, Mosse was freed after spending several hours in a cell.
In May, Mosse won the Prix Pictet, which comes with a $101,000 prize, for his recent work on refugees. For the project, he used a military-grade thermographic camera, photographing people in refugee camps from a distance. (PDN published a feature on Mosse’s work in February, “Richard Mosse Uses Military Camera Tech for Refugee Crisis Film and Book.“) He followed migrant paths from North Africa to Lesbos and other Greek islands and through Europe.
He wrote about his arrest on Chios, “I’ve seen such warmth and compassion from the people of Lesbos but here on Chios the vibe is completely different,” he writes. “Extremist, angry and afraid.”
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