Talking Point

Where do art and migration meet?

What does art have to say about migration and belonging? Step into the shoes of artists, migrants, and makers as they tell their stories

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Can art go beyond borders?

Sometimes it’s easier to feel like a stranger in a place like London, where everybody is from everywhere. I might not have done this kind of work if I was too comfortable with my own society.

Gil Mualem Doron

Artist, Who Are We? Project, Tate Exchange


Art can be a language shared between individuals, nations, and cultures. It can redeclare identities that have been lost or abandoned when people find new homes. It gives migrant voices a means of being heard in an otherwise unsympathetic world. As we've seen at Tate Exchange with our artists and Associates, art can bring up powerful questions around outsider status, legality, and identity. 

But can art really transcend national and cultural borders? With Article 50 triggered and the UK preparing for an exit from the European Union, questions remain around the ability of art to have real influence in how we think about migration and belonging. Can stories spark debate about the future of migration policy? Can a work of art create a welcome? Tell us what you think below.

 

 

Telling stories, creating welcome, changing minds

Once you make people feel welcome and safe to any country, they give more than they take.

Alketa Xhafa Mripa

Artist, Who Are We? Project, Tate Exchange

For a week at Tate Exchange, we asked the question: "Who are we?" Through performances, talks, and old-fashioned conversation, we created a platform for questioning identity, nationalism, modern migration, and belonging. With the help of our Associates and the artists above, we sought to make a space for those voices too often suppressed by political dogfights and hysteria.

Art has the power to change public debate, because it has the power to change each of us. Public debate and sentiment can shift because of it. The contemporary art world is quick to engage with trending topics like migration, but it's up to us to keep the conversation going. Art should embolden us to keep talking, keep listening to voices other than our own, and keep creating welcome in the ways we can.

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Art about migration and belonging

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Lubaina Himid Ankledeep

1991

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Keith Piper Go West Young Man

1987

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Yukinori Yanagi Pacific

1996

How would an artist represent indigenous groups and former colonies in the Pacific with fairness?

Artwork

Marwan Rechmaoui Beirut Caoutchouc

2004–8

What can a map say about the physical and social formation of one of the world's most conflicted cities?

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