The trauma of flight processed in wood

The trauma of flight processed in wood

Elham rahmani remembers it well: exactly three years and three months ago, he came from afghanistan to germany. Behind him lay a dramatic escape from the taliban. It was an odyssey that took him across eastern europe and finally brought him to weismain, where he lives in a collective shelter. Since then, rahmani has been processing his traumatic experiences through creative design. Together with ernst muller, a woodworker from altenkunstadt, he has created a wooden sculpture with the title "escape" wear. Yesterday, the impressive linden wood object was presented in the foyer of the district administration office.

When rahmani arrived in weismain, he didn’t want to just sit there and do nothing, ernst muller told us. According to muller, 250 asylum seekers from 16 countries of different cultures and religions, individuals and families with children live there. Rahmani looked for a job, took on janitorial work and began to create something new out of all kinds of things: vinyl records became watches, he shaped old metal into jewelry, and he designed car tires into sculptures, thus making it into the daily newspaper. This, in turn, drew ernst muller’s attention to the young afghan.

" it said that he would like to work with wood, but has neither material nor tools." muller, a trained healer, became lucid, because in his spare time the old artisan shapes wood, he calls himself a "woodshaper"." "I was interested in the people and made contact with them."

Muller got to know the young afghan and invited him to join him. Finally, a 1.5-meter-long trunk of linden wood was to be transformed into a sculpture. The two men pondered how the wood could tell the story of the escape. "It was a process that matured slowly over months.", muller tells.

Rahmani wanted to immortalize his concrete situation in the tree trunk: the map of afghanistan, planes dropping bombs from the sky; destroyed cities and fleeing people can be seen. With a chisel, he simply carved the escaping figures out of the wood. They should be representative of all people who have to flee from war. A pleading hand rises from the branch and a weeping eye ends in a seemingly endless sea of tears. A blue ball ultimately expresses hope. Elham rahmani tells in a low voice what he has worked into the wood. "It creates a feeling that makes you think", says muller.

When michael busch, a district administrator, heard about the project from a relative, he didn’t have to think twice. "It’s something great and fits the times as a counterpoint to the current discussion about refugees." because it’s all about people and not about numbers, busch emphasized. "We have the damned duty to take care of the human being." still people like rahmani coming from afghanistan had no secured right to stay, he regretted. The sculpture also expresses this fear of deportation to an uncertain future. A great symbiosis has developed between muller and the young afghan.

By the way: elham rahmani converted to christianity, his godfather is ernst muller. Rahmani hopes to find a new home and future in germany.

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