Two FREE events before and after a screening of ‘Human Flow’ by Ai Weiwei: ‘Migrant Frontiers’ and ‘Hostile Detainment’, both with a strong political agenda and dedicated to the hunger strike at Yarlswood detention centre by over 100 detainees just two months ago. They are taking place at HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN Manchester, on Thurs 21st June 2018. More info:
In conversation chaired by artist-filmmaker-activist Kooj Chuhan with guests veteran migrant rights campaigner Tony Openshaw, Mariam Yusuf who is currently seeking asylum, and the ‘These Walls Must Fall’ campaign. Live poetry from Sai Murray with musical backing will punctuate the discussion. The panel will reflect on the Human Flow film, the injustice of immigration detention, the history of migrant justice and the work of Virtual Migrants who are marking 20 years of art and activism. In the light of recent trends mostly against people who need to migrate, what have the last 30 years of campaigning shown us? Where do the arts and creative practices position themselves? What are the realities of hope? The title of the event ‘Migrant Frontiers’ draws on Virtual Migrants’ groundbreaking exhibition Terminal Frontiers first exhibited in 2002.
A semi-enacted political protest ‘action’ before the Human Flow film, involving 30 or more members from These Walls Must Fall. The event highlights the injustice of immigration detention and is a tribute to the 120 women on hunger strike during March this year. The UK has one of the largest detention estates in Europe and also some of the harshest, most abusive and inhumane treatment of people simply in need of refuge. This event is migrant justice in the front seat interwoven with creative support in the rear, a hybrid of artistic symbolism, protest and performance. The project is led by These Walls Must Fall campaign in collaboration with artist Kooj Chuhan and marks 20 years of Virtual Migrants’ arts activism. The event’s title critically resonates with the notorious ‘Hostile Environment’ policies of the current government.
UPDATE – brief review 22nd June 2018:
The Hostile Detainment event yesterday was incredible! People wore Anonymous masks with ‘These Walls Must Fall’ printed on them. A group created a few ‘walls’ by holding stretched out long sheet rolls of brown paper. Another group added graffiti to that ‘wall’ using charcoal, so that various messages gradually appeared on the wall during the hour long event. Another group of four people with plain white masks occasionally stalked into the audience and apprehended somebody (in fact a planted volunteer), took their ID stamped on to a pad and pushed them through a gap in the wall. Finally there were two narrators using mics and a PA describing government policies juxtaposed with experiences of people in detention, sometime calling someone on the phone who would directly describe their own experience relayed through the speakers. All in all a passionate, compelling, vibrant, community-led and activist-led creative experience bringing a hidden UK human rights issue into the open. Some photos (click any to launch full screen rolling slides):