Humboldt Forum
© Andrea Diefenbach
Land without parents. © Andrea Diefenbach

September 14, 2017, 7:00 PM

Country Without Parents

@ Demo Room on the Palace Construction Site

Free admission, registration required

in German

Deserted swathes of countryside, cities without adults – for many children in Germany that might sound like an adventure. In her award-winning book of photographs, "Land ohne Eltern" (Country Without Parents), photographer Andrea Diefenbach portrays families torn apart in Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest regions. She will discuss labour migration as an international phenomenon with art history professor Bärbel Küster and education and migration expert Janka Vogel and talk about her work as a photographer.

“Reading all the statistics about labour migrants and the remittances they send home is quite different to standing in a cold classroom in a small village in the south of the Republic of Moldova and seeing 30 six-year-olds wearing woolly hats and knowing that many of these children haven’t seen their parents for years.”

This is how Andrea Diefenbach describes the beginning of her work in 2008. She photographed the parents who were slaving away in Italy, sometimes illegally, to earn their living, and the children they had left back home. Without succumbing to clichés, she documents the distance between parents and children and what is at the same time a deep and intact attachment and the hope that one day they will be reunited and able to live as a family in the European Union.

Part of the discussion will be devoted to the people portrayed in the photographs: the fears and hopes of the parents and the wishes of the children. Janka Vogel, who has worked as a teacher in Romania, will talk about labour migration and families that have been torn apart. The other part of the discussion will be devoted to the artistic and creative aspect of Diefenbach’s work. Bärbel Küster will talk to the photographer about her visual language, aesthetics and the power of photography.

The discussion will take place under the auspices of the exhibition Watch Out: Children! Protected. Loved. Threatened., in which some of Andrea Diefenbach’s photos are on display.

Please take note that this event will be held in German.


Please register (in German) by 13 September 2017 if you wish to attend. Due to limited seating capacity, we can only guarantee you a seat if you pick up your tickets on the day of the event by 6:45 pm. A limited number of tickets will be available at the ticket office from 6:45 pm for those who decide to attend at short notice.

Andrea Diefenbach studied photography at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences and works for German and international magazines and organizations as well as pursuing long-term personal projects. Her book projects СПИД [spid]  AIDS in Odessa and Land ohne Eltern have won many awards and been exhibited all over the world. She currently teaches photography at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. © Andrea Diefenbach
Bärbel Küster was appointed Professor of Modernism & Contemporary Art at the Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich in August 2017 after previously serving as acting professor at various universities, most recently, since 2014, as Acting Professor for Art History of Modernism at the Institute for Art Studies and Historical Urban Studies at the Technical University of Berlin. © Bärbel Küster
Janka Vogel is a social worker and works with Romanian migrants in Berlin. She spent two years in Romania working in school and youth welfare and subsequently investigated the phenomenon of transnational families as part of her Bachelor’s thesis. She completed a Master’s degree in Southeast European Studies with a focus on Romania / Republic of Moldova at the Institute for Romance Languages and Literature at the University of Jena. © Janka Vogel

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