Brian Sokol
  • In photographer, Brian Sokol's exhibit, "The Most Important Thing," part of <a href="http://www.halfkingphoto.com" target="external">The Half King Photo Series</a>, refugees are photographed with the most meaningful item they brought with them from the land they fled. Pictured, Dowla Barik, 22, in Doro Refugee Camp, South Sudan, 2012. The most important object that Dowla was able to bring with her is the wooden pole balanced over her shoulder, with which she carried her six children during the 10-day journey from Gabanit to South Sudan. Numerous bombing raids forced Dowla to flee her home.
    Brian Sokol
  • Haja Tilim, 55, in Jamam Refugee Camp, South Sudan, 2012. When a bomb was dropped on the home of her neighbor Issa Unis, he was killed instantly. That night, Haja and her family fled their home in Fadima Village, in Sudan's Blue Nile State. The most important thing that Haja was able to bring with her is the patterned shawl, called a "taupe" which which she carried her 18 month old granddaughter, Bal Gaze. Haja brought nothing else with her, not even wearing shoes during the family's 25-day journey from Fadima to the South Sudanese border.
    Brian Sokol
  • Fideline Poga Za, 13, in Batanga Transit Center for Central African Refugees in Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2013. Fideline, her six siblings,and parents, fled their village of Moungoumba suddenly, when Seleka forces arrived to kill. The most important thing that Fideline was able to leave her home with are her notebooks. Fedeline says, "We have suffered so much. My father is out of work and my mother goes to the fields all day. I want to study so that I can become someone."
    Brian Sokol
  • Malian refugee Abdou Ag Moussa, 34, with his family in Mentao Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, 2013. The family are nomadic Tuareg herders from Ebangamallan encampment, near Gosi, Mali. After his mother and four others were abducted and shot by armed men, Abdou fled with his wife, children, and father. Abdou's most important thing is the motorcycle he sits on here. He put his wife and children into a car, and, with his father, followed on the motorcycle, which he says saved their lives.
    Brian Sokol
  • Howard Serad, 21, in Yusuf Batil Refugee Camp, South Sudan, 2012. Exchanges of gunfire and aerial bombardment forced Howard, with his wife and six children, to flee their home in Bau County, in Sudan's Blue Nile State, four months earlier. The most important object that Howard was able to bring with him is the long knife he holds, called a "shefe," with which he was able to defend his family and his herd of 20 cattle during their 20 day journey from Bau County to the South Sudanese border.
    Brian Sokol
  • Mputu Jeanne and her two daughters in Makela Dzombo, Ouige Province, 2013. Jeanne fled Angola when she was six. Her two daughters were born as refugees in Congo; the family plans to return to their homeland soon. The most important thing they possess is the mattress here. All three, plus a small child, sleep on it. Her daughter Joelle says that it's not only that the mattress helps to keep them warm, but it is also about the family honor, and a way to be proud.
    Brian Sokol
  • Jean Gerembo, 36, in Batanga Transit Center for Central African Refugees, Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2013. Jean fled across the Oubangi River with his family after the Seleka had killed his mother for her money. Jean hid nearby and the Seleka left without discovering him. The most important thing that Jean was able to bring with him is his fishing net. He says that the net allows him to live, and to earn. Jean says, "I have to accept to live here (DRC) until peace returns...Many people have suffered. Mine is just one story."
    Brian Sokol
  • Leila *, 9, in Erbil, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, 2012. Leila and her family fled their home in Syria when their neighbor's home was bombed, killing everyone inside.The most important thing Leila took is the jeans she holds. "I went shopping with my parents ... when I saw these, I knew instantly that these were perfect because they have a flower on them, and I love flowers." She has only worn the jeans three times, all in Syria. She says she won't wear them again until she attends another wedding, and she hopes it, too, will be in Syria. (*Name changed for protection purposes)
    Brian Sokol
  • Magbola Alhadi, 20, and her 3 children in Jamam Refugee Camp, South Sudan, 2012. Magboola and her family weathered aerial bombing raids for several months, but decided it was time to leave their village of Bofe the night that soldiers arrived and opened fire. They travelled for 12 days from Bofe to the town of El Fudj, on the South Sudanese border. The most important thing that Magboola was able to bring with her is the saucepan she holds in this photograph. It was big enough to cook food for herself and her three daughters during their journey.
    Brian Sokol
  • Ahmed*, 70, in Domiz refugee camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, 2012. Ahmed fled Syria with his family when their home in Damascus was destroyed in an attack. The most important thing Ahmed was able to bring with him is the cane. Without it, he says, he would not have made the two-hour crossing on foot to the Iraqi border. Ahmad says, "All I want now is for my family to find a place where they can be safe and stay there forever. Never should we need to flee again."
    Brian Sokol
  • Malian refugee Doud Ag Ahmidou, 45, with his family in Goudebou Refugee Camp, Burkina Faso, 2013. When Doud felt the bombings hit the village next to his encampment, he knew he had to leave as soon as possible. The most important thing Doud took on his trip was a Touareg Pillow. Doud explained that during the difficult 6-day flight on a donkey's back towards Burkina Faso, the pillows brought comfort to his children and his wife at night. "The Most Important Thing" opens Sept. 16 in New York,<a href="http://www.halfkingphoto.com" target="external">click here for more info</a>.
    Brian Sokol
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