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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Jun 11, 2023

Asylum: Author Umberto Nicola Nicoletti, 

Introduction by Filippo Grandi

Claudia Cragg speaks here with author, Umberto Nicola Nicoletti, about his fine-art book Asylum. We  discusses the phenomenon of LGBTIQ+ refugees, asylum seekers, and those subject to discrimination in their home countries based on their gender or sexual orientation.

More the 40 percent of the countries in the world today still impose prison sentences or the death penalty just for being LGBTIQ+. Asylum is an international project that arose from a collaboration between five associations around the world and photographer Umberto Nicola Nicoletti.

Through the use of beautiful “glossy images,” such as those used in fashion and advertising, the project seeks to engender empathy for the subjects involved and their stories. Asylum seekers become celebrities, idols, and heroes as they are. Therefore, it is not photographic reportage but, rather, an art project focused on restoring their dignity.

LGBTIQ+ refugees often face double discrimination: in their home country and in their destination, as they are both immigrants and LGBTIQ+. This is especially true in refugee camps, where they are subject to assaults by other migrants. The aim of this project is to give these individuals the identity they are often deprived of when they are reduced to an indistinct mass—and to show the world their true beauty.

Umberto Nicola Nicoletti is an Italian photographer and director. He specializes in portrait photography in the fields of advertising, music, fashion, and publishing. He has created international ad campaigns, commercials, book covers and music videos. 

The introduction in the book, Asylum, is written by Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Related organizations:

The 519 TORONTO / 

CIG Arcigay MILAN /  


Rainbow Migration LONDON /