25-year-old creative joseff murphy project yamaha life vests shows the dates of when a handful of syrians made their journey to europe. the artist collected the vests from the shores of lesbos, greece, where they came to from the deep sea.




each portrait with its own story to tell. these life vests are sold between the prices of €50 – €200 each, often stamped with fake brand names like yamaha to appear top of the range. many of these vests are so cheaply manufactured that the material inside doesn’t keep you afloat, but instead causes people to sink when in contact with water.




in collaboration with abdullah ali who has been living in amsterdam for over 2 years now, murphy exhibited these A1 portraits in the windows of smorgasbord studio, amsterdam just before the launch of his re-vestlife campaign — an art movement for social inclusion. to accompany the portraits and raise awareness for the launch of the campaign, he organized and directed a public event where both locals and migrants spent the afternoon on the ferries of amsterdam inviting the public to wear life vests from lebvos.




‘the aim of the event was to invite people to interact with the life vests, to engage in conversation about the crisis and give them the opportunity to physically place themselves in the shoes of others, in the form of wearing the vests,’ explains the artist. ‘it also gave a platform for several syrians to share their journey and stories with the people of europe.’










designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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