Europe's Waiting Room / De wachtkamer van Europa (2017)
Drawing where cameras are forbidden: A drawn reportage from inside the refugee camps on Lesbos.
Scenario and art by Aimée de Jongh
25 pages, full colour

Aimée de Jongh on her project Europe's Waiting Room:

"In October 2017, I spent 7 days in the refugee camps on the island Lesbos, Greece, together
with cartoonists Judith Vanistendael and Mei-Li Nieuwland. We went there because journalists,
photographers and filmmakers are not allowed in the camps. Drawing was allowed, which is why we
were able to capture images from the refugees and their homes that nobody had seen before. Better yet,
drawing turned out to be a great way to get closer to the refugees. Paper and pencils were not threatening
(as cameras sometimes can be). We were not journalists, but artists. They accepted us and welcomed us.
Drawing was a way of communicating too. If we didn't understand each other, we drew pictures.
The portraits of refugees and the many sketches we made in the camps, are what's left of a very emotional
and intense journey. After my return, I made a 25-page comic called Europe’s Waiting Room.
My colleagues Judith and Mei-Li also made two stunning comic reports. It was a project I'll never forget."


Read the comic: EUROPE'S WAITING ROOM (25 pages, complete)

The comic was published by the Dutch newspaper NRC and the online platform for
graphic journalism, Drawing The Times. The comic offers a unique view of daily life inside the camps.

Click here to read the Dutch version on the
website of the newspaper NRC

Click here to read the English version on the
online platform Drawing The Times

(Click on the orange arrow to read the full story)

The 25 comic pages were also part of the exhibition"Zeich(n)en der Zeit -
Comic-Reporter unterwegs"
in Erlangen, Germany, 2018.

This comic project was funded by the Pascal Decroos Fund for Investigative
urnalism and the Dutch Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten. 
Our partners during the trip were the volunteers of the Dutch NGO Because We Carry, who work
in the refugee camps every day, and do fantastic work. They made this comic project possible.

Page from the comic:


Sketches from the camps: