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  • Sink Without Trace

Meet Aida Silvestri

Updated: Jun 29, 2019

Aida Silvestri's artwork Even This Will Pass is part of Sink Without Trace

Eritrea to London on foot, by car, lorry, boat and train.

1. How long have you been making work on the subject of migrant deaths at sea, and why did you start making work on this subject?

I started creating work on this subject in 2012 before the major refugee crisis in Europe took place. It was at a time of fewer deaths in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Sahara desert didn't make the headlines in the mainstream media.

Personally, I was dealing with an African/Eritrean refugee crisis, in a hope to raise awareness of human trafficking as well as to shine a light on the variety of experiences and difficulties that many faced to reach the "Promised Land.”

2. Why did you choose to use the medium that you have in relation to the subject?

The aim was to approach this project from different angles, with different mediums by utilising an amalgamation of blurred images, text/poems, hand-stitched journey lines and a map which I hope gives the audience plenty of information yet provide an element of surprise when the viewers make the connections.

I wanted to engage the audience without showing gruesome or pitiful imagery often associated with this subject matter as well as to preserve the dignity of the participants. It aims to provoke an audience to action as opposed to a more traditional response of inaction due to the overwhelming enormity of imagery related to tragedy, crisis or trauma.

3. Tell us about your view on the role of art, galleries and museums, in relation to the subject.

The Lampedusa boat tragedy in October 2013 where many refugees died at sea, was a wake-up call for Europe. It generated attention to the already existing 'refugee crisis' and the creation of work around the subject.

Many galleries and museums across the globe are doing an excellent job showcasing work concerning migration, but I feel more work around forced migration, integration, acceptance and post-trauma needs to be commissioned and highlighted.

4. What do you hope to achieve with your work on the subject?

I hope to raise awareness of human trafficking, highlight difficult journeys that many embark on and the reasons why.

There are thousands of refugees from different countries: displaced, imprisoned and held hostage in the hands of people traffickers that require our attention.

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