In response to the similar conceptual approaches used by Aida Silvestri and Yto Barrada I have photographed my own interpretation of the situation, however conceptually my approach is more about the border in which we have to cross in order to live somewhere else which is why I have located my subject on the border of the walls surrounding Chester. Although obviously the struggle to cross is not upon the same level as it is for those illegally fleeing from Africa, the representation of the border which keeps us located in a certain place is clearly visible.
I have chosen to cover the face of my subject to remain anonymous much like Silvestri and Barrada in order to create no distractions from the meaning in which I am depicting visually via a reconstructed representation of a refugee’s struggle to freely leave their homeland. The scarf covering the face of my subject in this situation represents the struggle to see where they are going and enhance the fact that moving from one place to another is not so straightforward for some people.
A lot like Aida Silvestri, Yto Barrada explores similar concepts of refugees fleeing their homeland via a visual exploration being photography.
During 2013 I saw Barradas work in a exhibition called ‘No Borders’ at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
The displayed work by Barradas shows individuals known as the ‘burnt ones’ sleeping in parks. The burnt ones are refugees who have illegally fled across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco to Europe. These people are known as the burnt ones as they are notorious for burning their passports to maintain anonymous in an attempt to help them illegally escape their country. The images show an exhausted and vulnerable faceless escapee sleeping helplessly on the ground with their heads covered in order to remain hidden from authorities. Similar to Silvestri the hidden faces create a sense of mystery and ambiguity, the vulnerable state in which they lay suggests hopelessness and exhaustion, physically and mentally.
Photographs from the series ‘Sleepers’ by Yto Barrada, 2006.