“You Are Migrant”
What is behind your choice of this piece of art in response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis?
Artist Janice Redman: My interaction with this piece is more visceral and tactile than anything else. I love to put my hand on it, I love the weight of the figures, which are filled with sand, and the way they flop as they are stacked. To have them on top of a teacup, which for me is about comfort and ritual and intimacy—there’s something caring about it. There’s a sense of being in a state of sighing.
Why did this piece of art resonate for you or seem like it would give you an avenue into writing about the Syrian Refugee Crisis?
Poet Katherine DiBella Seluja: First of all I love the medium the piece is worked in. Janice’s choice of organic materials keeps us grounded in the experience and makes considering its meaning unavoidable. The anonymity, the gray, the lack of individuation or identity so fully represent the refugee experience and this is a significant aspect of the message I want to convey in my poem. Further, the stacking of bodies, the sense of discarding, throwing away, the unnamed, the unknown, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, all speak deeply to the refugee experience.
What do you think is the role of art in regards to real-world, real-time events? In other words, what makes a “successful” occasional or political piece of writing or art?
Poet Katherine DiBella Seluja: A successful political piece is one that is relevant and that speaks to us on multiple levels simultaneously. I prefer work that describes, manifests and depends on a clean cut like that of a scalpel more than the bitter edge of sarcasm. Getting the work out into the world in a timely way is also crucial, which is a strength of Broadsided’s vector strategy.