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Through Our Eyes

WhatsApp Image 2023-09-28 at 12.56.36
WhatsApp Image 2023-09-28 at 12.56.36

Through Our Eyes


September 16 – October 8, 2023

Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago

“Through Our Eyes” is a long-term photography project which launched in 2019. So far, it has involved 156 children aged 9 to 17 in Samos, home to one of the Greek islands’ hotspots for migrants, in North-West Syria, in the internal displacement camps of Ad-Dana, and in the Mathare slum in Nairobi where roughly 500,000 people live in extreme poverty.

All 156 children, who are students at the emergency and international schools of Still I Rise, were given the opportunity to attend a photography course led by the project creator,  Nicoletta Novara, and by Syrian photographer Mahmoud Faisal. At the end of the course, the students were given disposable cameras they could use to directly describe their difficult lives.

“Through  Our Eyes” recounts migration, war, and poverty. Each picture comes with a note written by the children describing their memories and recounting their hopes and dreams for the future. The main objective of the project is to give children the chance to express themselves through the universal language of photography. The exhibition has reached  over 100 cities in Europe and the United States to date. 

Opening hours

Saturday & Sunday, 10:30am-5:30pm

For weekday visits and groups, email

Explore the project

Still I Rise is an international nonprofit organization founded in 2018. Its goal is to educate, safeguard, and protect refugee and vulnerable children around the world. It is headquartered in Italy and operates in North West Syria, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia. Still I Rise was also active from 2018 to 2022 in Greece, in the island of Samos. Starting from the real needs of the communities in which it operates, the organization has formulated two different approaches to education: the International Schools and the Emergency and Rehabilitation Schools.

Through its International Schools, Still I Rise has become the first nonprofit organization in the world to offer the prestigious International Baccalaureate education framework free of charge, exclusively to refugee and vulnerable children. The goal is to ensure a high-level seven-year education that will train the new leaders of tomorrow. The first Still I Rise International School opened in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2020: in 2024 the same model will be implemented in the International School which is opening in Bogota, Colombia. 

On the other hand, in Still I Rise’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Schools intervention takes place in volatile contexts, in order to offer flexible educational programs enabling out-of-school children to catch up on all lost years of education, and integrate them back into formal educational pathways. Emergency schools are currently operating in the city of Ad-Dana, North West Syria, and in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Find out more about Still I Rise

This program is part of Chi Siamo: (Re)presenting Italian Culture, the theme selected for 2023 by the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago. This year-long series will explore the topics of representation and inclusion in Italian arts, with a specific focus on cross-cultural contamination in contemporary and modern Italy.