Nestled in the heart of South Kensington, NYLA gallery played host to the Barakat Trust's exhibition 'Migrating Histories - Moving Identities' part of RBKC's Nour festival of Arts.
The preview showcased a visual dialogue between reinterpreted maps and diagrammatic representations expressing the intimate relationship between peoples, histories, cultures and their natural environment. Set within the context of the constantly evolving and rapidly changing face of the Middle East, themes around migration, polarisation, destruction of heritage and the impact on identity and the human body are explored. A sense of continuous movement and migration of cultural landscapes is evoked by a range of emerging and international artists using a diverse range of mediums from mixed media, digital and textiles.
‘The story of migration can be full of hope and optimism and beauty yet at the same time destructive and full of horror. Now more then ever, the focus needs to remain on the visual stories of migrating histories and our moving identities. We have all migrated from somewhere…
Who are we? And where do we come from? And does it even matter?’ these were the questions and conversations buzzing around the evening as guests became involved in the interactive map wall installation inviting visitors to map their 'migrating histories'! Other works included digital maps by NYLA and Hadiyah Hussain, an installation by Khaver Idrees, limited edition prints by Kevin Jackson and a series of moving photographs by journalist and writer Sarah ElRashidi,
All the artists, to some degree or another, have been touched by the story of migration whether through their personal journey and cultural ancestry or the present day cultural landscape of media and politics. Some of the artists have taken objects and earth from the Middle East and reinterpreted this in mixed media work to create a sense of beauty juxtaposed with a sense of horror allowing the onlooker to draw their own conclusions.