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. 

More information at:


Even This Will Pass.

Aida Silvestri, Even This Will Pass. 

69 Roman Road, London. 

12/03/14 – 26/4/14


Kidan: Eritrea to London on foot, by car, by lorry, boat, train and aeroplane, 2013. Giclee print on fine art paper and red stitching, 84.1 x 59.4 cm (33 x 23.4 in)

Aida Silvestri tackles immensely colossal issues within one of the smallest galleries in London. The exhibition deals with the particular problematic issues refugees face when fleeing from Eritrea to the UK in hope of a better life.

Roman Road’s compact space is occupied with 10 black and white anonymous portraits surrounding the tight walls each facing the centre of the room. Every individual with the same hopes and aspirations of escaping their home in hope of a better life in the UK compared to their strict dictational run lives in Africa.

This haunting exhibition raises awareness of the incredibly horrific situations refugees find themselves in on their journey to the promise land. Aside each portrait is a short poetic statement from each refugee explaining in mostly blunt and shocking terms their experiences along the way of human trafficking, abuse, torture, rape and in some cases death.

A large map on the wall shows each individual’s journey across the globe, mauve stitching across each portrait enables us to see exactly what route the have taken to the UK. The accompanying text explains quite brutally the problems they faces within their journey. Linking every aspect of the exhibition together creates a tense atmosphere in making the exhibition feel much more real, if that’s fair to say. We often hear of these horrific stories but Silvestri had brought it to life and right on our doorstep which sparks feelings of fear, guilt, haunt and shock.

‘Even This Will Pass’ suggests how this topic is often overlooked. Silvestri hopes this exhibition airs the voices of those included. An array of appreciation is applauded to to Silvestri for one of the most bravados emotionally moving exhibitions I’ve visited in a long time.

More information about the exhibition at: