‘Stories In Transit’ is a project about refugee journeys – and the way that those journeys have been used by politicians and the press to suit their own agendas. I started looking at this theme in 2022 with the following piece – ‘Journey’s End’. This piece was prompted by the first incident where refugees died trying to cross the English Channel. Read more about this artwork here.
I went on to develop the sculpture, ‘Refugee Journeys’ shown below. The story begins at the bottom of the tower with an examination of the reasons why refugees leave their homes – war, politics, persecution, religion, climate breakdown etc. These ideas are represented by ‘demons’ (inspired by medieval stained glass depictions of devils and monsters).
The journey continues around and up the artwork with individual panels showing issues like pushbacks, boat journeys – both successful and not, bureaucracy and people smugglers. The apex of the work is about what refugees want. I call these the pillars of secular spirituality – the freedom to love; to work; to play and to have autonomy over your mind, body and spirit. These concepts are illustrated using different birds – for instance, the magpie represents ‘mind’ as it is intelligent and playful.
I have explored these concepts further with ‘The Six Pillars of Secularity Spirituality’.
I intend Stories in Transit to take the form of an installation consisting of a central artwork surrounded by a wall-mounted journey through these ideas. It will be set out like a ‘murder investigation board’ – an investigation into the issues and the surrounding reporting. The concepts represented in the artwork are replicated and physically linked with twine. QR codes take the viewer to news stories that report, discuss and comment on the subjects represented.
This is an example of just one of the stories that I have been following.
I have begun to create other elements of the installation such as the following watercolour of the ‘War Demon’. This is an element of the ‘murder investigation board’ part of the installation.
I am very grateful to have received funding from the Oppenheim John Downes Memorial Trust towards the cost of realising this project