Projects with Asylum Seekers, Dublin 2006
I had been looking into theories from art critic and curator, Nicholas Bourriaud for my thesis at the time. He believes that “Present day art shows that form only exists in the encounter and the dynamic relationship enjoyed by a proposition with other formations, artistic or otherwise. I wanted to conduct several workshops instead of one big event, to learn more about the people and to add to the process of the project.
I conducted several workshops in the hostel, which involved cooking singing dancing and storytelling and beadwork. These workshops were filmed but the focus of the workshops were the conversations bonds and exchanges I made with the people during these workshops. Through the interactions I made with the people I discovered that there are many social issues such as racism, which infringes on their sense of belonging in addition to serious problems, like female circumcision, that they encountered in Nigeria. I wanted to try to explore these issues and bring them to the attention of the public realm, through editing of footage
The next part of my own project involved collaborations. I felt I had to open the project up for myself and also for the participants. I met with Adis Anale Iroh, who is a Phd student studying Media. He was interested in the settlement of Nigerian families in Ireland. We decided to collaborate together with the people living in the hostel to seek to find how family life is affected, in the controlled space and environment of the hostel. We organised a meal in a Nigerian restaurant in Dublin, followed by a focused group discussion.
For the final part of my project I decided to focus my project more on everyday life in the hostel and on individual stories and life experience. I decided to work with 3 people instead of a group of people and instead of the activities I decided to work with the people on a one to one instead of doing group based activities. The people were comfortable with this. I shadowed three people for a day each, one man and 2 women.The man, Femi had just got refugee status and the two women were still pending on their status. However just after I had completed my interview with one of the women, Fumi, received a deportation order. I wanted to bring focus to the asylum process in Ireland through the interviews so I made a link between each person when editing. The titles of each film became Fumi-deported, Femi- granted, Edith- pending which added another interesting layer to the project.