Whilst writing my main review on Aida Silvestri’s ‘Even This Will Pass’ show at Roman road I have decided I ought to further my knowledge of why so many refugees are fleeing the Horn of Africa.

I have begun reading the book ‘Conflict and the refugee experience: flight, exile, and repatriation in the Horn of Africa by Assafaw Bariagaber, 2006.


Conflict and the refugee experience: flight, exile, and repatriation in the Horn of Africa by Assafaw Bariagaber, 2006. 

Silvestri suggests that many of the refugees she interviews have fled Eritrea due to the poor standard of the dictatorial government, the population are under political regime and strict surveillance as well as having no freedom of speech.  From what I have discovered from ‘Conflict and the refugee experience…’ so far is that many refugees leave Africa due to political events, crisis and violence. It seems although the political situations are being hidden in the media as I’ve researched why refugees are leaving the Horn of Africa and many past articles have simply put it down to drought and famine.


Leyla Ali Adow, second from left, a Somali refugee who is pregnant, waited with others to be interrogated at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya. 

A recent church shooting terrorist situation has lead to a mass security sweep in Kenya. Thousands of Somalian refugees are being swept up by the police and forced into overcrowded refugee camps. An article from the New York Times states that Police officers have entered homes and shops en masse, arresting hundreds of people, including women and children, and placing them on police trucks to take them to detention centres. “They don’t care if you have an ID card or not” claims a Mr. Abdulahi. 

Outside the gates of the camp families have commented to the press:

“My pregnant wife, 17-month-old child and sister are in there,” said Mahdi Ibrahim, 39, a refugee from Ethiopia. “This is the second time they come and arrest my family. Our refugee papers are valid.”

Ismail Osman, 63, a Kenyan citizen who is an ethnic Somali, said that police officers in his neighbourhood the day before had arrested his 32-year-old son, who has a mental illness and was not carrying identification.

“We don’t know where he is,” Mr. Osman said tearfully, showing his son’s Kenyan citizenship papers. “The process is confusing.”

Many of the refugees are terrified of being sent back to war-torn Somalia. What shocks me is that fellow Africans are not helping each other out through times of crisis, the corrupt police ethics are extremely concerning. The moral principles of humanity are shocking in these situations and I find it ultimately distressing.

Video insight to the situation and camps in Kenya available at Aljazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/03/kenya-confines-all-refugees-two-camps-2014325211245266713.html 

New York Times Article, available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/world/africa/kenyas-answer-to-terrorism-sweeping-roundups-of-somalis.html?_r=0



During our lecture today we learnt about semiotics which is simply the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.

“It is…possible to conceive of a science which studies the role of signs as part of social life…We shall call it semiology (from the Greek sèmeîon, ‘sign’).  It would investigate the nature of signs and the laws governing them…Linguistics is only one branch of this general science. …”

Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, 1916

We can deconstruct an image by what we already know, the obvious suggests a narrative from what we already know due to our social and political upbringing. By reading the signs in the picture such as the words, gestures, colours, etc we are able to come to a conclusion of what it means to us based on our experiences. Other religions and cultures may read images in different ways. I believe that as soon as the creator presents an image it will become open to interpretation. No matter what the creator intends to portray in the image it still has the ability to affect someone else in a different way.

I have decided to find an image I know nothing about and try to read the semiotics from what I can see without being distracted by what I already know about the artist and photograph.

Joan Jonas, Mirror Piece I, 1969.

Joan Jonas, Mirror Piece I, 1969.

My interpretation:

Knowing nothing about this artist and piece I have come to the conclusion of what the image and title suggests to me.

Using the mirror suggests to me the artist, subject and viewers reflection on perception. I believe that showing the bare legs in a field and being 1969 the era has had an influence on this image. The rise of the hippie counterculture which involved a lot of sex and drugs may have been the vortex of this image. The mirror suggests to me another dimension in a way, which the use of psychedelia certainly enhances and opens the mind to the possibility of other dimensions.

The use of reflection could be an interpretation on the reflection of the model and the exploitation of their sexuality, perhaps she is hiding herself because she is ashamed or embarrassed by her naked body as society suggests we should cover ourselves up.

On the other hand, sat on the grass suggest that she is grounded within nature and is portraying to the viewer that being naked is okay, it’s completely natural and that we should be comfortable with our bodies. There is no reason to hide them on a summer’s day, it is not an offence to be free.

What does the image portray to you?

Compulsion to destruct.

The Seeds of Destruction –

Art Under Attack: Histories of British Iconoclasm at Tate Britain

By Jonathan Griffin

Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/seeds-destruction


Statue of the Dead Christ c.1500–20 
Stone on a limestone plinth

The Mercers’ Company

Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/article/every-statue-tells-story

2/2/14  – Danielle Pugh

Initially in extending my research from last week’s ‘Can art affect everyone?’ review I intended to look at the way curator’s lay out exhibitions and the purpose behind their choices.

I decided to look at the ‘Art Under Attack’ exhibition at the Tate Britain, I was interested in the exhibition and it’s relation to how art affects certain people.

The curators intention in putting the exhibition together was to convey the compilation of attacks on art over the past 500 years, with regards to why and how they have changed. In order to portray the information they have split the exhibition in to three subject matters, religion, politics and aesthetics.

The religious section looks at the 16th and 17th centuries and particularly the dissolution of the monasteries and the puritan iconoclasm in the Civil War. The political iconoclasm has focused on the attacks of public sculpture. In the last section the exhibition looks at the attacks on contemporary art and artists who use destruction as a creative force.

The article I looked at was more informative about the work shown in the exhibition of art that has been destroyed and become iconic throughout the centuries in the UK.

Gustav Metzger argues with curator Andrew Wilson that it was not an exhibition about iconoclast in the classic sense. He argues that breaking an image does not eradicate it but merely replaces it with another and that deconstruction is part and parcel of creation. Which leaves me to contemplate if broken or damaged artwork should simply be discarded or kept as an iconic powerful warning against violence, political and religious dogma. I think it all depends on the reasons for destruction. I find that the destruction of the pieces bleed energy, which suggests straight away via psychoanalysis the rage and anger or even humour of the protestor, I find it fascinating to research and find out why these actions have occurred and what has influenced them.

This exhibition invites the viewer to visually learn about the history of protest and iconoclasts. Before reading up about the exhibition I was unaware of some of these destructions and I find the passion, which overwhelms someone and compels them to violently destroy a piece of art slightly concerning yet exciting at the same time. The exhibition explores examples of protestant reformists seizing sculpture, ‘Statue of the Dead Christ c.1500–20’ in 1538, suffragette attacks on cultural heritage represented in ‘Sibylla Delphica’ by Edward Burne Jone’s in 1898 and attacked in 1913, Allen Jones’s ‘Chair’ 1969, damaged by feminists in 1986 and work which has been purposely destructed as a creative force by artists such as Yoko Ono and Gustav Metzger.

Overall I became more captivated by the subject of the exhibition and art that stimulates aesthetic outrage as well as the compulsion these people had to physically attack and destroy something as a result of rage built up by their views and opinions which have been influenced by the period they are living in and the faces they are changing.

Art Under Attack –


Press Release –


Can art affect everyone?

Can art affect everyone?

Article by: Francesco Manacorda

Tate – Blogs & Channel


Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/can-art-affect-everyone


ART TURNING LEFT – How values changed making, 1789-2013.

Tate Liverpool: Exhibition.

08/11/2013 – 02/02/2014


Jacques-Louis David
The Death of Marat (La Mort de Marat) 1793–4
Oil paint on canvas
1113 x 856 mm
Musée des Beaux-arts

© Musée des Beaux – Arts. Photo: C. Devieeschauwer

Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/five-key-works-from-art-turning-left 


Review –

What is the intention of the article/exhibition?

The article breaks down the choices curators make when putting together an exhibition and the issue it tackles. The article begins to start a debate on their contextual issues of the exhibition influenced by the left-wing values from 1789-2012. Asking the widely interpreted question ‘Can art affect everyone?’ the title alone engages anyone who is remotely interested in art to understand Tate’s fundamental mission and ethos of achieving this as a subtext to the exhibition.

What effect did the curators have in the outcome of the exhibition? 

Their strategies to display the work has been carefully thought out in a way which will reflect history, narrative and interest but also allow the viewer to engage through a form of distantiation in order to reflect on their own question’s to the works.

How important/controversial is the show?

This is the first exhibition to examine the procedures and reception of art, which has been influenced by left-wing values. Although not completely factual the interpretations are somewhat historical influence in themselves. It raises awareness of the importance of social and political influence on the movement of art, weather it is intentional or unconscious at the time or not creates controversial criticism.

Is the article/exhibition open to interpretation?

The article title is a question and in the first paragraph it states Francesco Manacorda ‘invites you to think differently about the idea of ‘art for all’ and share your view.’ The exhibition intention is to encourage viewers to abandon conventional readings of an image and rethink how art can be influenced by a role in society. This article is perfect for someone who is curious about the exhibition and is looking to question it and get involved in innovative responses. The Tate have sparked all sorts of questions related to the show and encourage feedback via social networking in the closing paragraph.

Is it informative and authentic?

A gallery founded in 1897 Tate is the most well established art galleries in the UK. The writer of the article, Francesco Manacorda is an Italian art expert and a newly appointed artistic director of the Tate Liverpool. I have learnt it is important to question sources online. The web gives the ability for anyone to publish their thoughts and opinions. I am interested in reading well-written and authentic articles by people who simply know what they are talking about.

The article is not a review of the exhibition so it is less informative about the work but it’s an extension on the thoughts related to the concepts around the show. There aren’t many facts and little information about the show but the article mainly strives to ask questions of the reader/viewer in order to spark curiosity in a debate.