Crossing Borders. A Global Exhibition Exploring Themes of Migration

by | 15 Jul, 2020

The theme encompasses migrating fauna, as well as human migration. The aim is to provoke the audience to consider the narrative of the migrant, to understand and empathise with both the material, and the psychological journey involved, and to question their personal relationship to migration. 

The project explores the theme of migration through concurrent shows in several countries, initially Sweden, Malaysia, Scotland, USA, The Netherlands & India. These are the countries lined up as of now, and we are awaiting confirmation from Egypt, South Korea, and Romania. We are also in the process of collaborating and finalising with more participant country coordinators. We may need to stagger the individual shows for logistical reasons, so it would then take the form of a travelling exhibition. The respective curators/artists have each experienced migration either directly or indirectly. They will contribute their work to this group show, as well as curate their respective country exhibitions. The aim of the show is to generate empathy through education.

 General Concept

To provoke understanding and empathy with both the material, and psychological journey of migration, and to question preconceptions about this subject.

In our contemporary time movement of people is rapidly escalating. According to the UN, migration is now growing faster than the world’s population. Due to globalisation over the last 50 years or so, transport costs have become relatively less expensive than they were a generation ago, meaning migration is now an accessible option for many more people than in earlier times.

People migrate for a myriad of reasons, but recently one of the most frequent reasons are the ecological conflicts and injustices. For some, it is a choice, and for others, such as those fleeing from a perilous location, it is a necessity to survive. However, in every case, at the heart of the decision to change location is the dream of finding a better – safer, more comfortable, more affluent – life somewhere else.  

Migration involves great risk, since it is a leap into unknown territory, physically and emotionally. The migrant must have the ability to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings and to find the balance between the culture they seek to become part of, and the way of life they bring with them. Whether the migrant is a lone individual, or whether they travel along with a community, the integration of cultural elements is a problematic process, one in which many conflicts and questions arise. The more fundamental of these, such as differences in religion, take many generations to resolve.

In keeping with the theme, this project has a global ambition. We are reaching out to artists from as many parts of the world as possible to find participants. Each artist who joins will share their works on migration with the other participants. These images will make up the exhibition, the scope of which will grow as more people join in. Artists will either take on the role of curator themselves or will collaborate with a curator. 

Climate migration, was it forgiven? In 2018, extreme weather events such as severe drought in Afghanistan, Tropical Cyclone Gita in Samoa, and flooding in the Philippines, resulted in acute humanitarian needs. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, there were 18.8 million new disaster-related internal displacements recorded in 2017. Most disaster displacement linked to natural hazards and the impacts of climate change is internal, with those affected remaining within their national borders. However, displacement across borders also occurs and may be interrelated with situations of conflict or violence. 

Please visit the Crossing Borders website:

Featured image:
Daesung Lee, Futuristic archaeology, 2015.
Ph credit & courtesy of the artist.