Migrant belongings

The migrants arrive by the hundreds on the beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. And in their eagerness to move on, they leave behind belongings they carried on their backs.

The people fleeing war and poverty, mostly from Syria but also from Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan, turn up from the Turkish coasts after crossing rough seas on precarious rubber dinghies. This northeastern Greek island has become one the main entry points to Europe for refugees this year. More than 1,000 people arrive every day to the beaches on the north of the island, by now a dramatic routine.

The beach arrivals always chaotic, especially in bad weather. Children and adults jump off the dinghies as they approach the shore, desperate to reach land as soon as possible. On their backs, they carry the few personal belongings they managed to take on the journey. Some of them end up on the beach.

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Text from the AP news story, AP PHOTOS: Objects left on the beach by migrants on Lesbos


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Nat Castañeda is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. A California native, Castañeda works primarily in video and collage, with an emphasis on tactile intimacy with her materials remaining an important aspect of all her projects. Common issues in Castañeda’s work are the conflating of iconography and pornography, the questioning of traditional gender binaries, and the role of technology within personal narratives. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and has shown at venues such as El Museo del Barrio and Electronic Arts Intermix. In addition to her art practice, Castañeda currently works at The Associated Press where she leads a team that curates AP's online archive of historic and contemporary photojournalism. Castañeda’s photography has appeared in the New York Times,U.S. News & World Report and USA Today.