An Artist’s Experience as a Refugee Will Be Part of Events Marking Refugee Week in Scotland.
Imam Tajik’s politically engaged work features in an exhibition at Glasgow’s Hunterian Gallery and includes his images of the infamous Calais “Jungle”.
It also contains footage from his Bordered Miles project in which he staged a walk to the Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre where he was held in 2012 after fleeing Iran.
Tajik said he had decided to volunteer at Calais because of his own experience in a refugee camp.
“In my real life I have been there, in a similar situation, at a different time, and place, in a refugee camp,” he said.
Despite knowing exactly what a refugee camp is like, he was still shocked by the Jungle.
“I couldn’t believe what was going on,” said Tajik. “I had seen it on the news but I saw so many things and took images of so many things that you don’t really see on the news.”
This year is the 25th anniversary of Refugee Week, held every year to celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary and there is a host of events throughout Scotland to mark the occasion.
Through the programme of arts and events, Refugee Week seeks to encourage an understanding of why people are displaced and the challenges they face when seeking safety.
To mark the week and the Hunterian exhibition, a flag drawing attention to the plight of refugees will be flown on the University of Glasgow’s North flagpole.
Tajik’s white Who Is? flag is embellished with the words “Who are they? Who are we?” and aims to stimulate debate on the borders, both visible and invisible, that people have created throughout history.
It is part of an ongoing art project between Tajik and Jonas Jessen Hansen, created to open conversation surrounding the current refugee crisis and their treatment. The flag was first exhibited on World Refugee Day in 2017 and has since been exhibited in various countries all over the world.
“By flying the Who Is? flag from the University of Glasgow’s flagpole, the Hunterian seeks to provide a platform for people who have sought refuge in Scotland and promotes the University as a welcoming place of safety for all,” said a spokesperson.
The University of Glasgow is part of the City of Sanctuary UK initiative and holds a University of Sanctuary status in recognition of its commitment to supporting people who have experienced forced migration.
Source: The National