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Reframing the debate: The art of Lampedusa

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This article considers the art that has been produced in relation to the subject of migrant deaths at sea, with a focus on artworks that refer to the island of Lampedusa and its long history of the subject. Now that the world’s media are at last paying attention to the subject of migrant deaths, the small islands of Lampedusa and Lesbos are in danger of being ‘invaded’ by more than just migrants – artists are on their way in ever-increasing numbers. The ‘migration crisis’ has become the latest hot topic for artists, but art on the subject of migrant deaths at sea is often controversial, dividing both critics and audiences. Written from the perspective of an artist, this article explores the complexities of making and presenting art about this extremely sensitive issue.
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Keywords: art; drowning; graves; memory; migrant deaths at sea; refugees

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2016

More about this publication?
  • The course of cultures at both local and global levels is crucially affected by migratory movements. In turn, culture itself is turned migrant. This journal will advance the study of the plethora of cultural texts on migration produced by an increasing number of cultural practitioners across the globe who tackle questions of culture in the context of migration. They do this in a variety of ways and through a variety of media. To name but a few relevant aspects of this juncture of migration and culture, questions of dislocation, travel, borders, diasporic identities, transnational contacts and cultures, cultural memory, the transmission of identity across generations, questions of hybridity and cultural difference, the material and oral histories of migration and the role of new technologies in bridging cultures and fostering cultural cross-pollination will all be relevant. Methodologies of research will include both the study of 'texts' and fieldwork.
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