Category Archives: Immigration

Hiwa K, Pre-Image (Blind as the Mother Tongue) (2017)

Single channel HD video, 17:40 mins

“Work Description

Pre-Image (Blind as the Mother Tongue) re-traces a journey undertaken on foot by Hiwa when he fled Iraqi Kurdistan in the mid-1990s. This long and often dangerous journey — lasting five months and two days and passing through Iran, Turkey, Greece, France and Italy — was an “experience of space and time” and a “fracturing of spatial and cultural experiences.” Each point along the way, whether a city or town, was experienced fractally, and always from below — with no overview.

In this work, the artist uses an adapted balancing device, equipped with motorcycle mirrors, to re-create the disorienting experience of space and time experienced by so many making similar journeys. One mirror reflects what is ahead, another behind, while the others reflect the artist and his immediate surroundings. To walk forward he must balance and control the device, alluding to the effort needed to keep moving and recalibrate oneself to new contexts.

Artist Biography

Hiwa K (b. 1975) Lives and works between Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Berlin, Germany.Working across video, performance and installation, Hiwa’s work draws from personal experiences, including family anecdotes, his path through arts education, and daily encounters and occurrences.

Hiwa K’s works have been included in group exhibitions including Documenta 14, Kassel (2017); 56th Venice Biennial curated by Okwui Enwezor (2015); Asian Art Biennial, Taipei (2019); 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc Videobrasil, Sao Paulo (2019); Anren Biennale, Sichuan (2019); Yinchuan Biennale (2018); and MOMA Ps1, New York (2019).

Recent solo exhibitions include: Kunsthalle Mannheim (2019); S.M.A.K. Museum, Ghent (2018); KW Institute of Contemporary Art (2017) and KOW Gallery, Berlin (2016). His work has been awarded the 2019 Hector Preis and in 2016, both the Arnold Bode Prize and the Schering Stiftung Art Award.” (credit)

Ana Mendieta, Silueta Series (1973-78)

“The “Siluetas” comprise more than 200 earth-body works that saw the artist burn, carve, and mold her silhouette into the landscapes of Iowa and Mexico. The sculptures made tangible Mendieta’s belief of the earth as goddess, rooted in Afro-Cuban Santería and the indigenous Taíno practices of her homeland. Exiled from Cuba at a young age, Mendieta said that she was “overwhelmed by the feeling of having been cast from the womb (nature).” Seeking a way to, in her words, “return to the maternal source,” she used her body to commune with sand, ice, and mud, among other natural media, as a way to “become one with the earth.”

Yet these works resist easy categorization in form or theme. The “Siluetas” are not self-portraits or performance pieces, except perhaps to the few who witnessed them. Each piece was subsumed by the earth, meaning photographs are the only remaining traces. Similarly, the thematic complexity of Mendieta’s life and these sculptures resist collapsing into neat categories of nation, diaspora, race, or gender. By using the body as both an image and medium, these aspects of identity are complicated. Mendieta’s earthworks occupy a liminal space between presence and absence, balancing the inevitable politicization of the self while searching for meaning in older, sacred traditions. …

The “Siluetas” were an ongoing, ritualistic relationship between Mendieta and the land. I read each work as a spell, a fragment of an ongoing incantation that was not “the final stage of a ritual but a way and a means of asserting my emotional ties with nature,” as Mendieta once said. She wanted to send “an image made out of smoke into the atmosphere,” so that each work was designed to disappear, to be reclaimed by the force she revered in an effort to come closer to it.” [credit]

“Spanning performance, sculpture, film, and drawing, Ana Mendieta‘s work revolves around the body, nature, and the spiritual connections between them. A Cuban exile, Mendieta came to the United States in 1961, leaving much of her family behind—a traumatic cultural separation that had a huge impact on her art. Her earliest performances, made while studying at the University of Iowa, involved manipulations to her body, often in violent contexts, such as restaged rape or murder scenes. In 1973 she began to visit pre-Columbian sites in Mexico to learn more about native Central American and Caribbean religions. During this time the natural landscape took on increasing importance in her work, invoking a spirit of renewal inspired by nature and the archetype of the feminine.

By fusing her interests in Afro-Cuban ritual and the pantheistic Santeria religion with contemporary practices such as earthworks, body art, and performance art, she maintained ties with her Cuban heritage. Her Silueta (Silhouette) series (begun in 1973) used a typology of abstracted feminine forms, through which she hoped to access an “omnipresent female force.”¹ Working in Iowa and Mexico, she carved and shaped her figure into the earth, with arms overhead to represent the merger of earth and sky; floating in water to symbolize the minimal space between land and sea; or with arms raised and legs together to signify a wandering soul. These bodily traces were fashioned from a variety of materials, including flowers, tree branches, moss, gunpowder, and fire, occasionally combined with animals’ hearts or handprints that she branded directly into the ground.By 1978 the Siluetas gave way to ancient goddess forms carved into rock, shaped from sand, or incised in clay beds. Mendieta created one group of these works, the Esculturas Rupestres or Rupestrian Sculptures, when she returned to Cuba in 1981. Working in naturally formed limestone grottos in a national park outside Havana where indigenous peoples once lived, she carved and painted abstract figures she named after goddesses from the Taíno and Ciboney cultures. Mendieta meant for these sculptures to be discovered by future visitors to the park, but with erosion and the area’s changing uses, many were ultimately destroyed. While several of these works have been rediscovered, for most viewers the Rupestrian Sculptures, like the Siluetas before them, live on through Mendieta’s films and photographs, haunting documents of the artist’s attempts to seek out, in her words, that “one universal energy which runs through everything: from insect to man, from man to spectre, from spectre to plant, from plant to galaxy.”²

Nat Trotman

1. Ana Mendieta, quoted in Petra Barreras del Rio and John Perrault, Ana Mendieta: A Retrospective, exh. cat. (New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1988), p. 10.

2. Ana Mendieta, “A Selection of Statements and Notes,” Sulfur (Ypsilanti, Mich.) no. 22 (1988), p. 70.” [credit]

Saleh Khannah, In Between Camps (2012)

A more recent walking artwork highlighting the intersection of walking and race is In Between Camps (2012), which consisted of a group of six researchers and artists, Ismael Al-bis, Fabio Franz, Matteo Guidi, Thayer Hastings, Ibrahim Jawabreh, Saleh Khannah, Sara Pelligrini, Giuliana Racco, and Diego Segatto, walking across the West Bank from the springs of al-Arroub to Solomon’s Pools (three massive stone reservoirs) south of Bethlehem in search of an ancient Roman waterway, the Arrub Aqueduct. The project originated from the Campus in Camps program developed by Al-Quds University, an experimental education program in the Palestinian refugee camp of al-Dheisheh. The purpose of the project was to both reactivate the water system’s source, and imagine a time-frame before the contemporary apartheid-reality of walls, colonial land parceling, and occupation of Palestine. While they were hiking, the group was stopped by Israeli soldiers who were suspicious of the Palestinian participants due to their skin tone and dress. The international participants intervened and explained the trip, their search of the aqueduct, and showed them the map, engaging in a type of information overload tactic, not unlike the tactics Codogan described for minimizing the perception of criminality. After the walk, the group created a booklet (Booklet ) reflecting on the history of the site, their experience, and how the various layers of race-based rule and exclusion are projected on the land.

Hastings, Thayer. “Tracing a Line Through a Fractured Palestine, from al-Arroub to Bethlehem,” Walking Art / Walking Aesthetics. Accessed May 16, 2022: https://walkingart.interartive.org/2018/12/thayer-palestine

Marsad Drâa, Project Qafila (caravan), (2016-)

camels and person

Marsad Drâa (founded by Carlos Pérez Marin in 2013) is a transdisciplinary research group (university students and professionals from Morocco and abroad) studying lifestyles and cultures of desert regions as a way to better understand contemporary challenges related to sociology, architecture, agriculture, urban planing, visual arts, performing arts, history. Given the complexity of the disciplines, teams are usually multidisciplinary (architects, artists, engineers, biologists, sociologists, historians, archaeologists …) and they always work in association with local associations. Thus, they organize workshops (sometimes virtual ones on the Internet) in several regions of the Moroccan desert, with the aim of providing solutions to contemporary issues, based on tangible and intangible heritage.

project Qafila is a (open) transdisciplinary research platform on Saharan caravans founded by Marsad Drâa that develops a series of practical researches on caravans with several aims: to learn about nomad ways of life nowadays, to walk through the routes used by caravans from the 8th to the 20th centuries, to​ analyze the caravan heritage and the actual situation from a contemporary perspective in the Sahara desert.” [credit]

person and camel
“Beyond Qafila Thania brings together researchers from Sudan, Morocco, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands researching in architecture, sociology and the visual arts actively approaching the cultural, social and geopolitical space of the Sahara desert. Tracing back the stories of the old caravans, learning about its influence in current day cultures and societies.

Beyond Qafila Thania facilitates an inspiring frame to exchange and research further on the participants on going projects focusing on topics such as contemporary nomad culture and architecture, current immigration routes, history of slave trade, race issues  [and the concept of blackness],  and trans-Saharan book trade and the mobility of Knowledges within the Mediterranean, Sahel and West Africa.

Beyond Qafila Thania develops through different stages:

– Research and archiving.
– Site visits: Departing from Marrakech to Agdz with research visits to different oases, kasbahs and ksars between Agdz and M’hamid El Ghizlane (22nd to 27th October 2017).
– Attendance at the Taragalte Festival, a gathering of musicians from the Saharan region, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger (27th to 30th October 2017).
A nomadic walking residency from M’hamid to Akka (30th October to 10th November 2017) and from Akka to Tighmert (11th to 23rd November)
– Beyond Qafila Thania Round table in Le18, Marrakech (13th November 2017)
– Presentation of the project as part of KIBRIT Final exhibition and publication event  (15th December 2017).

The participant artists and researchers selected to be part of Beyond Qafila Thania are Amado Alfadni (Sudan), M’barek Bouhchichi (Morocco), Pau Cata (Catalonia),  Carlos Perez Marin (Spain) and  Heidi Vogels (The Netherlands). For the first stage of the project they will be joined by Olì Bonzanigo (Italy), Laila Hida (Morocco), Francesca Masoero (Italy) and Leire Vergara (Spain).” [credit]

Rocca Gutteridge, UK Border Walk (2011)

community discussion
“A walk along the Scottish/English border to highlight restrictive visa policies for overseas artists, Artist Rocca Gutteridge and Claudia Zeiske undertook a walk along the Scottish/English border in reaction to the introduction of the Tier 5 visa policy for foreign artists on 5-7 August 2011.

UK Border Walk was a 77km walk along the English/Scottish border and included an Artachat discussion in the Romany town of Kirk Yetholm, the halfway point of the walk, about the detrimental effects of the new visa regulations for overseas artists. Both walk and talk highlighted and discussed the effects the Points Based System has for arts and cultural activities across our communities in the UK.

The UK Border Talk took place on Saturday 6th August in Kirk Yetholm, a small town along the border of Scotland and England. This was an open debate on the consequences of the PBS to UK cultural life. Speakers included visual artist Zineb Sedira, photographer Baudouin Mouanda, novelist Kamila Shamsie, artist/cultural commentator Nicholas Trench and Venu Dhupa, Director of Creative Development/Creative Scotland.

People had the option to join for:

  • the whole walk (ca 37 km on 5/6 August and 40km on 7 August); very strenuous and full equipment required.
  • all Sunday (ca 40km) very strenuous and full equipment required.
  • 5km and back on the Sunday morning, returning to Kirk Yetholm ca 12pm. The UK Border Walk continued towards Hungry Law the next day; joined by many for the 5km for the 5 Tier policy walk despite appalling weather conditions.

What is PBS?

In autumn 2008 the UK introduced a new points based system (PBS) for managing migration to the UK. The regulations have led to a restriction of non-European artists’ ability to come to the UK at the invitation of arts curators, promoters and artists. UK hosts are now required to be licensed sponsors if they wish to invite visiting artists. This has regulated the relationship between international artists and UK hosts from one of convivial artistic exchange, collaboration and cultural production to a contract which is excessively bureaucratic and treats international guest artists with suspicion and control. PBS has led to the cancellation of artists’ residencies, exhibitions, productions and performances across the UK. Many artists are refused visas while others are deported from UK airports because they were not sponsored.

For a full dossier of testimonials, petition to UK Government and media coverage visit the Manifesto Club’s website.

UK Border Walk is a partnership between: Deveron Projects, Artachat, Manifesto Club and ARTSADMIN. In collaboration with GASWORKS, Thami Mynyele Foundation and Edinburgh Arts Festival.” [credit]

Los Carpinteros, Sandalia (2004)

two scuptural flip flops

Two cast rubber sculptures
Each sandal: 12-3/4 x 5-3/4 x 2-1/2 inches

Edition: 60

“The sculpture multiple Sandalia is an edition of 60. The object is produced from a rapid prototype model and cast in rubber. By producing a limited edition of rubber sandals with relief maps of Havana neighborhoods on the soles, the artists adapted an ordinary object of mass production into a customized and poeticized icon that speaks of place, identity and culture. Sandalia derives from a series of watercolor drawings of sandals with maps. The right sandal depicts Old Havana, the left Vedado.”

“Over the past decade, Los Carpinteros (Marco Castillo and Dagoberto Rodriguez) have collaborated to develop their own poetic direction that functions in the imprecise boundary between art and craft traditions. Their carefully constructed works use humor to exploit a visual syntax that sets up contradictions among object, function and language.

Los Carpinteros have emerged as a vital force in the new, expanded terrain of global art. They live and work in Havana and Madrid and continue to travel and exhibit globally. For example: a major wall drawing was included in Drawing Now at the Museum of Modern Art-Queens, New York; their Transportable City was exhibited at the 7th Havana Biennial and at PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum of Hawaii in Honolulu. In March, 2004 they exhibited a new body of work including drawings and large-scale wood sculptures at Anthony Grant, Inc. in New York City. In 2005 their exhibition Inventing the World premiered at the USF Contemporary Art Museum.”

[credit]

David Taylor, Working the Line (2007)

“Beginning in 2007, started photographing along the U.S.-Mexico border between El Paso/Juarez and San Diego/Tijuana. My project is organized around an effort to document all of the monuments that mark the international boundary west of the Rio Grande. The rigorous undertaking to reach all of the 276 obelisks, most of which were installed between the years 1891 and 1895, has inevitably led to encounters with migrants, smugglers, the Border Patrol, minutemen and residents of the borderlands.

During the period of my work the United States Border Patrol has doubled in size and the federal government has constructed over 600 miles of pedestrian fencing and vehicle barrier. With apparatus that range from simple tire drags (that erase foot prints allowing fresh evidence of crossing to be more readily identified) to seismic sensors (that detect the passage of people on foot or in a vehicle) the border is under constant surveillance. To date the Border Patrol has attained “operational control” in many areas, however people and drugs continue to cross. Much of that traffic occurs in the most remote, rugged areas of the southwest deserts.

My travels along the border have been done both alone and in the company of agents. In total, the resulting pictures are intended to offer a view into locations and situations that we generally do not access and portray a highly complex physical, social and political topography during a period of dramatic change.” [credit]

Heath Bunting and Kayle Brandon, BorderXing (2002)

“BorderXing, a 2002 commission for the Tate Gallery in London, in which Mr. Bunting, 37, and Ms. Brandon, 28, documented illegal treks they made across European borders.

“I’ve always wanted to be nomadic — to beg, borrow, find things,” Mr. Bunting said. He travels light, often with no change of clothes and only a few basics: a penknife, a diary, a passport.

The BorderXing Web site, available for individual use by request (at irational.org/cgi-bin/border/clients/ deny.pl) offers pictures, suggested routes and tips for evading the authorities. A vacation slide show of the couple’s journey is on view at the New Museum, as well as online, without registration, at duo.irational.org/borderxing–slide–show.

Despite the political provocation involved, the project retains the aura of a pilgrimage — to be close to the land, to throw off the weight of nationality and statehood, simply to put one foot in front of the other and go.

… BorderXing is concerned with the physical, visceral aspects of travel…” [credit] [full article as PDF]

Mihret Kebede, Slow Marathon (2012)

people walking


Mihret Kebede
Slow Marathon
2012

A 5,850 miles walk from Addis to Scotland and back > a 26 mile walk celebrating the human pace

Slow Marathon began in 2012 in collaboration with Ethiopian artist Mihret Kebede who attempted to walk from her home in Addis/Ethiopia to Huntly. The Addis to Huntly and back walk, was abandoned as visa restrictions, border controls and deserts got in the way. Instead, Mihret decided to walk the total 5,850 miles distance with many people to reach the distance metaphorically.

In order for her to accumulate the 5,850 miles from Addis to Huntly, Mihret calculated that she would need a total of 225 people to walk a marathon of 26 miles – each way. To achieve this goal she organized with us a Slow Marathon around Huntly, with a parallel walking event in Addis Ababa on the next day to bring her back home: 225 people x 26 miles = 5,850 miles distance

In the run up to this, and in collaboration with Norma D Hunter, she organized training sessions and other walking actions that brought people locally and from all over the world together to contribute to the total distance target. A shoelace exchange between Huntly and Ethiopian walkers was part of the process: Multiple world record holder and patron for the event, Haile Gebrselassie’s shoelaces traveled to Huntly for an exchange with one of the participants.

The event was complemented by a discussion entitled Walk sans Frontières, chaired by Deirdre Heddon.

—–

Since the first event, Slow Marathon became an annual weekend event composed of a conceptually led, 26 mile walk, expanding upon a theme or an idea related to our curated programme, concluding in 2020. It was followed by a day of talks, films, food and discussion, in relation to the chosen project. Celebrating the human pace, Slow Marathon was both an endurance event as well as a poetic act that brought together friendship, physical activity and the appreciation of our landscapes in their geo-political settings.

You can see all Slow Marathon routes below:

Under One Sky: 2020
Dufftown to Huntly: 2018
Tillathrowie to Huntly: 2017
Along the Deveron – with and against the flow: 2016
Portsoy to Huntly: 2015
Glenkindie to Huntly: 2014
Cabrach to Huntly: 2013
Around Huntly: 2012 I 2019

[credit]