Response to Migration

I have completed 15 footprints and stories. It has felt most poignant when matching stories of children onto the footprints of children I know. What if some of these traumatic events really happened to my neighbours’ children? Or I start to put myself in the place of grandmothers of my age who are suddenly responsible for raising grandchildren as the intervening generation has been killed.

I have also made 3 papier mache beaches to put the footprints on. The concept is to represent the terrain which migrants have to cross, which is not just the difficult physical landscape, but also the difficulties of media attention, interpretation and prejudice, and the high financial costs.So I used some old rolls of un-printed newspaper, white and pink (financial section), and brown packaging paper for the papier mache base.

This was papier mache on an industrial scale. Through the shredding machine, boiled in a catering size pot, whizzed with a catering potato masher, to produce buckets and buckets of mache. I then mixed in shreds of printed newspaper to make flecks, and made batches of different colours.

clingfilm wrapped footprints to keep them dry

clingfilm wrapped footprints to keep them dry

Adding greyboard undulations

Adding greyboard undulations

I cut out grey- board shapes and glued them to the wood base to make undulations on the beach, then covered this with flowing shapes of several colours of papier mache. I had to wrap the footprints in clingfilm so that they would not get wet again from the papier mache.
Luckily I have access to a boiler room where hot water is produced for a neighbourhood heating system. This room is always hot, so it made an ideal speed-drying room, as my time is fast running out. Speed-drying and the depth of mache in some places produced cracks, but I accept that as it matches the underlying idea.

Beach 1 completed

Beach 1 completed