Group Show - 16 June to 29 September 2006
Opening: 15 June, 7-9pm
MIGRATIONS is part of a multi-stranded project being developed by Belfast Exposed exploring different experiences of migration. The exhibition features major works on the subject of migration by well-known, contemporary artists and researchers; Anthony Haughey, Andrea Lange, Breda Beban, Penny Siopis and Terence Wright. A programme of screenings, discussions, talks and workshops considering specifically the 'visibility' of migrant identity and experience in Northern Ireland will run throughout September.
Between (2005) by Anthony Haughey
Migrations will feature a number of photographic portraits from Anthony Haughey's Between series. Between is a collaborative visual media project critically exploring negotiation of citizenship with residents in a Government of Ireland Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers, a former Butlins Holiday Camp, Co. Meath, Ireland. Haughey has been engaged in discussion with the current residents of Mosney regularly since October 2004. He is involved in various learning, teaching and support situations within this community and forming friendships and shared ideas through discussion with a group of mostly Nigerian asylum seekers.
I am learning about the everyday experience of negotiating citizenship from the point of view of individuals temporarily housed, stateless and awaiting a decision which will decide their fate, either licence to remain or deportation by the Department of Justice. Some families have lived in Mosney for over three years. Migrants are forced by circumstance to start out on a journey from home, clearly this journey and all its implications is not taken lightly. On arrival in the host country a complex and contested series of negotiations for citizenship and human rights begins.' Anthony Haughey
Refugee Talks (1998) by Andrea Lange
DV-Cam/DVD, 33 min
Refugee Talks consists of nine sequences, each featuring one or several persons performing a song. The protagonists are all refugees from different countries who lived in the same reception centre in Oslo during the winter of 1998. Each of them chose a song that was relevant to their own situation, and to the film they appear in. The work is shot at various locations within the reception centre in the common rooms or the family rooms. The title is taken from Bertolt Brecht's Fluchtlingsgesprache (written in exile 1940-41).
"Andrea Lange's works are involved with the human drama of community. For her, issues of displacement, assimilation and difference revolve around the central point of communication, inclusion and understanding. In a range of profound projects over a number of years she has investigated the situation of confrontation, incarceration, and commemoration to reveal the complexities inherent in the idea of placing the self inside the system of the other." Extract from catalogue text by Juliana Engberg, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
Arrivals (2003) by Breda Beban
Photo series, 2003/2005, C-type prints
Breda Beban's work is about subjectivity and emotion occurring on the margins of big stories about politics, geography and love. Arrivals is a series of 8 sets of four photographs evoking in an uncomplicated and explicit way an experience of absence felt by those inhabiting the space between an unbroken desire (longing) and a broken sense of belonging. Each set of photographs depict; a picture of a bed(s), a picture of a window in bedroom, a picture of scene from a window and a close-up on some aspect of the same scene from the window. These photo-works are structured like narratives: they are literally a story of an escape, of a journey and of arrivals. The story is not told with the fluid realism of film, but through the repetitive frozen frames of photography. The photos are also intimate proofs, not just of arrivals, but also of departures - the blanking out of arrivals, the process of removal of all traces of someone who once was there.
"Breda Beban's work epitomises the distinct capacity of a work of art to describe life simply and without obvious elaboration, and to invest it with the profundity of human emotion"Charlotte Cotton, The Photograph as Contemporary Art (Thames & Hudson, 2004)
My Lovely Day (1997) by Penny Siopis
8mm colour film transferred to video and DVD, 21 minutes
My Lovely Day combines spliced sequences of 8mm home movies that the artist's mother shot in the 1950s and 1960s in South Africa with sound and visual text which tell an elemental story of migration, displacement and exile. The words (narrative) are those of Siopis' maternal grandmother telling her grandchildren, of her emotional and literal journeys between Europe, Greece and South Africa in the early part of last century. The moment of her telling is apartheid South Africa, as are the scenes captured on film, yet her references to social turmoil and catastrophe are those of an earlier time - the 1922 Greco-Turkish conflict in Smyrna, World War I and World War II. The sound combines traditional Greek music and song, with Siopis' mother's voice singing 'My Lovely Day', made as a 78 record in 1955. The uneven quality of the found footage - the jumps, sprocket tracks, scratches, light flares, camera movements, frail focus and intrusion of peripheral images - dramatises the quality of the film as artefact and in a way stands for the fragmentary nature of memory. My Lovely Day, as intensely autobiographical as it is an engagement with conditions of postcoloniality, was stimulated in part by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa. The TRC, which began in 1996, brought a hidden archive of personal memory into collective consciousness.
'My grandmother's story is of stoic, unsettled exile, but the film is also a much larger allegory of migration and displacement, and the effects of what we might now call globalisation.' - Penny Siopis
Migrations (2006) by Terence Wright
Today's media is characterised by attempts to search for more simplistic treatment of current affairs. Yet when we stop to think about how much of our knowledge of the world is derived from pictures, we find that there is also very little general understanding about how visual images communicate this information. Against this background, journalism as a profession has become 'promiscuous', disparate and diffuse; yet Western governments appear to be increasingly responsive to public opinion. It is becoming increasingly important not only to analyse the ability of visual images to create new discourses, but also necessary to examine the social and institutional constraints on their function.
Migrations is a multimedia presentation that considers some contemporary images of refugees and looks for patterns and common elements in their construction and usage. It identifies some historical archetypes that are used to portray the subject of forced migration and questions the role of the mass media in aiding the relief of humanitarian crises.
Anthony Haughey is an artist and Senior Research Fellow at Interface, the Centre for Research in Art, Technologies and Design at Ulster University, Belfast. He was previously Head of the Department of Media at the Dublin Institute of Technology. His research and audio-visual artworks have been exhibited, published and collected internationally, most recently the installation Resolution, was acquired for the permanent collection of Wolverhampton Art Gallery. His recent publication, Disputed Territory is the culmination of his project on post-conflict countries in Europe, including Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo. He is currently researching and producing a collaborative video installation with a group of asylum seekers housed in a government of Ireland Asylum Seekers Reception Centre, the former Butlin's Holiday Camp, Mosney, Co. Meath. His chapter contribution, Imaging the Unimaginable will be published in Projecting Migrations, Transnational Documentary Practices, a forthcoming Wallflower Press Publication and DVD-ROM.
Andrea Lange lives and works in Oslo, Norway. Lange studied at The National Academy of Fine Arts in Bergen, Norway and Accademia di Belle Arti Pietro Vanucci in Perugia, Italy. She works with various medias, such as photography, audio-and videoinstallations. Issues concerning identity and cultural encounters and diversity are often central in her artistic approach. Lange has participated in a number of exhibitions, among them: Northern Lights Film Festival in Newcastle, MOMENTUM 04 - Nordic Biennial for Contemporary Art, Fundamentalisms of the New Order in Copenhagen, Refuge at Henie Onstad Artcentre in Oslo, Milano Europa 2000 La Triennale di Milano and Melbourne International Biennial. Most recent shows at The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo and with the project Arabic Lesson at the Stenersenmuseum in Oslo.
Breda Beban was born in Serbia and raised in Macedonia and Croatia. She lives and works in London and Sheffield where she is a Professor of Visual Arts at the Sheffield Hallam University. Beban's film Walk of Three Chairs is currently staged as part of the BRITISH ART SHOW 6 (touring exhibition, 2005/06). Recent exhibitions and presentations of Beban's work have taken place at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum Reina Sofia, Madrid and Museum of Contemporary Art, Zgareb (2005); Tate Modern (2004); National Film Theatre, London and Cinema Zuid, Amsterdam (2003). Her films were part of Artists' Film and Video, ArtNow Lightbox, Tate Britain and A Century of Artists' Film in Britain, Tate Britain (2003). In 2002 Beban curated Imaginary Balkans, a group exhibition which was on show at Site Gallery, Sheffield (2002); Cornerhouse, Manchester and at the Stills Gallery, Edinburgh (2003). Beban is currently curating imagine art after, a multi-stage project whose fist stage - an online exhibition and dialogue was hosted by Guardian Unlimited (Nov/Dec 2005). Beban was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Arts, UK, 2001. Her film Jason's Dream received the Silver Award for Music Film & Video, Worldfest, Houston International Film Festival, USA, 1999.
Penny Siopis is a South African of Greek descent. She lives in Johannesburg where she works as an artist and lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand. She studied fine arts at Rhodes University, Grahamstown. She was awarded a British Council scholarship and continued her studies in the United Kingdom. Her work has been shown in many international biennales including the Venice Biennale (1993), the Johannesburg Biennales (1995, 1997), the Kwangju Biennale (1995) and the Havana Biennales (1994, 1997). She has also participated in a many international exhibitions: Democracy's Images: Photography and Visual Art after Apartheid, BildMuseet, Umea (1998); La Memoire, (part of an international exhibition on the thematic cycle, La Ville, Le Jardin, La Memoire - 1998-2000), Villa Medici, Rome, (1999); Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa, Museum of African Art, New York (1999); Lines of Sight: Perspectives in South African Photography, South African National Gallery, Cape Town, ( 2001); Africas: The Artist and the City, Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Barcelona (2003); Kwere-Kwere: Journeys into Strangeness, Amicitae, Amsterdam (2003): New Identities: Contemporary South African Art, Museum Bochum, Bochum (2004); Mine(d)fields, Kunsthaus, Basel, (2004). Siopis's most recent solo exhibition was Three Essays on Shame at the Freud Museum in London, 2005.
Dr Terence Wright is Reader in Theoretical Studies in Visual Art at the University of Ulster. Formerly he was Professor in Photography: Art & Media Theory at Kunsthogskolen, Bergen, Norway and Senior Research Officer at Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford. There he ran the project 'Moving Images: the Media Representation of Refugees' which conducted an in-depth review of the media reporting of refugee crises and the response of aid agencies. 'Moving Images' was funded by The Pilgrim Trust and the Esmee Fairbairn Trust. He taught for eight years at the UK's National Film & Television School and has ten years experience as a photojournalist, working for BBC Television and ITN for various programmes such as Panorama, Newsnight and Crimewatch.
Alex Rotas, Bath Spa University
Anthony Haughey, Interface, Centre for Research in Art, Technologies and Design, University of Ulster, Belfast
Dr Daniel Jewesbury, Centre for Media Research, University of Ulster, Coleraine
Karen Downey, Belfast Exposed Photography