All entries for March 2006

March 28, 2006

Dispatches: Living with Illegals

Writing about web page

Channel 4: 27th March 8 pm

In "Living with Illegals", award-winning journalist Sorious Samura becomes an illegal immigrant. His journey is epic as he travels from Morocco into Europe through Spain and France, finally crossing the English Channel to Britain. Samura wants to understand the reality of being an illegal immigrant, so he lives in the exact same conditions and experiences the same gruelling hardships as his companions.

This incredible documentary, shown last night on Channel 4 is moving and eye-opening as it traces the journey many Africans undertake in order to reach the UK. It is both thought-provoking and challenging, showing at first hand the stark and harsh existence many face in order to start a new life. Often the debate over assylum becomes polarized and politicized with individuals becoming faceless statistics. It is difficult not to be moved by the journey Samura undertakes, and by those who face death in the face for the hope of a new life in the UK.

March 05, 2006

Antony Gormley's 'Another Place'

Writing about web page

Another Place figureOn my second visit to Antony Gormley's 'Another Place' at Crosby beach Liverpool I took the Canon with me. Late afternoon in early March isn't the best time for outstanding pictures but I was able to take a few images (navigating the tide and human obstacles). I had hoped to take some images of more figures together, but the beach was full of people which made if difficult. I concluded that the best time to take images would be very early in the morning.

Another Place consists of 100 cast-iron, life-size figures spread out along three kilometres of the foreshore, stretching almost one kilometre out to sea. Each weighing around 650 kilos, they are made from casts of the artist's own body and are shown at different stages of rising out of the sand, all of them looking out to sea, staring at the horizon.

Acording to Gormley, (the Angel of the North artist), Another Place 'harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide to explore man's relationship with nature'.

In themselves the figures are not in any way spectacular. Close-up, they might even be described as crude. However, it is the drama and presence with which they stand silently staring out to sea that is so gripping, and the manner in which they are dotted along the beach. They never look the same in the changing light and tide. During an hour-long visit in bitterly cold winds, the figures stand silently as the sun passes in and out, as a ferry drifts by, as passers-by walk up and touch them, all against a backdrop of distant slow-capped mountains.

These human casts change depending on the time of day and the tide – at low tide many figures are on view, and at high tide they may see just tips of heads or nothing at all. Some people think it is about death or drowning. However, Gormley himself has said that the work is:

a response to the individual and universal sentiments associated with emigration, sadness at leaving, but the hope of a new future in another place
a kind of acupuncture of the landscape, but also acupuncture of people’s dreamworld

Each individual viewing the figures will respond in a different manner, possibly depending on their own mood, the hour and the season. To me it speaks of the relationship man has with nature, of resilience and determination. There is a sense of the profound isolation in which we so often exist, even in community. However, such poignant reflection is also accompanied by a message of hope, of something deeply spiritual. Submerged to his waist in a pool of water, one of the figures could be sinking or he could be poised for baptism. As the sun shines down on each figure there is a sense of the profound nature of mans existence, instrinsically linked to the raw elements of the physical world around him.

Another Place will be at Crobsy until November next year, before it crosses the Atlantic.

See the gallery for a few more images. I plan to return in early Summer and take some images in clearer light.

March 2006

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