Published on Coeval Magazine
Your international origins reveal that you probably directly experienced what it means to be an immigrant or an outsider. So, I'd like to ask you something correlated to your personal experience.
I have lived through being an immigrant as well as being a part of a host population many times. Having experienced and lived through different facets of the issue in different countries, I wanted to open up a frank conversation on the raw emotional responses that we have when faced with the phenomenon of mass migration and propose a situation where a discussion can take place. I am sometimes in the position of a witness (of mass migration) and sometimes in the position of an unknown entity (a migrant). And sometimes, I am totally outside of either the unknown entity or witness. I felt that I could open up the emotional rawness that we all do have, a very human response, with an artwork.
In "Don’t They Ever Stop Migrating?" you painted immigrants as a mass. The personal identity disappears in the crowd and with it the origins of all single people. Do you think it's really lost?
Every single stroke is painted separately, individually, and is therefore unique. I would think the perception depends on the viewers - some may perceive them as a swarm or some others, as many single individuals. Every brushstroke is different from one another. It is interesting that some may find the individuality lost.
Is it hidden only to us, a hosting country, or does it constantly loose its essence by the time passing and people crossing?
Migration modifies. Even though most of the times migration enriches, it is still a change that challenges the status quo. For example, we can think of influence of the migrant Moors on architecture, visual arts, and in Mediterranean culture in general. There is definitely more to gain from migration rather than losing. Any living “essence” naturally keeps transforming.
How do you live the cultural mixing of your origins?
I feel I have many origins and no origin at the same time. So, my cultural mix is complex. It’s a complexity that allows me to see the phenomenon of migration from a distance, in an abstract way.
I think that the most interesting aspect of your installation is the sensory immersion in which people are divided by exploring your work. That let people realize they are directly involved in the problem.
I wanted to put the viewer in the position of witnessing mass migration and make them feel what they would feel if we saw a mass of unknown entities moving around. My work compels them to face this raw emotion head on, regardless of whether that emotion is moralistically right or wrong. I wanted to examine the human emotion that is caused by witnessing a mass movement of entities whose intention is unknown.