Counterpoints Arts
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Refugee Week

Who Is? Project
31st May 2017
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By Who is? Project.

The Who is? Project has been made to ask the public to question the way we think about each other: our neighbours, our co-workers, our families, those we see living on the street, those we see struggling, those who are complete strangers to our particular community, those of a different nationality and background. We all have stories, and each person’s story is completely different from our own, but equally important. The project starts now. Find the project on Facebook to get the latest updates and learn how to get involved.

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Photo: Jonas Jessen Hansen

A white flag emblazoned with the words “Who are they?, Who are we?“, is going to be exhibited from World Refugee Day on the 20th of June and onward. World Refugee Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. Asking the viewer the question, Who are they?, Who are we? , the flags are speaking about the many invisible borders we as a species have created through history.

Against the backdrop of the EU referendum and the US election outcome, the flags will act as a catalyst to discuss division and the growing fear of the stranger. The stranger is an ambivalent character. They are neither neighbour nor alien, but both, simultaneously. Close foreigners and foreign neighbours. Alien fear is a product of the stranger’s incongruous character and life is marked by the struggle to reduce alienation. People are bombarded with new impressions and social life has become more and more ritualistic, and when fellow citizens and establishments increasingly act out of self-interest, the result is social distance – hiding behind human made borders, both physical and invisible.

Dividing the society into “us and them” will create problems, when right from the start, society places immigrants and second-generation immigrants as not being a part of the community. We are all people. We have bodies and minds, 10 fingers and 10 toes, but we’re all different, and the fact that we are is what creates an enriched and multicultural society.

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Photo: Iman Tajik

The flags will be sent out to different locations both in and outside UK and they will be white, with the question written in black. One flag will be exhibited outside the Civic Room in Glasgow, where an associated exhibition will be taking place. The flags can be viewed on the different locations or online at whoisproject.co.uk, facebook.com/whoisproject or www.instagram.com/thewhoisproject, where both still and live photos will be exhibited.

The associated exhibition will take part of the Scottish Refugee Festival 2017, happening from Monday 19 June – Sunday 2. July 2017, under the main theme “Connect”. The exhibition is on from the 22. June – 2. July, so if you are visiting or based in Scotland, be sure to make your way down and see the exhibition. Learn more by visiting our facebook or website.

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Photo: Jonas Jessen Hansen

The Who is? Project is a collaboration between artist Iman Tajik and Jonas Jessen Hansen, and will be used as a vehicle to discuss issues concerning today’s immigration system and raising people’s awareness. The work is centering on the European migrant crisis and talking about the dream of a better life and the many invisible borders we as a species have created through history.

Iman Tajik is an artist, born in Iran and has lived in Scotland for 4 years. Iman is finding his voice in relation to a strong social interest – one that is true to his own and other experiences. Demonstrating an interest in making work that is a critical tool connected to international movements for social and political change, his work is speaking about the issues of today’s society and telling stories in a alternative way to that of the news.

Jonas Jessen Hansen is a multimedia artist who works across film, installation and photography, (b.1991 in Denmark) lives and works in Glasgow. His practice is rooted in the real world. With a conceptual and abstract approach, his works explores a curiosity about what it means to be happy, successful and beautiful; what it means to fit into society and be accepted, what it means to stand out from the crowd and be our own person. Dealing with today’s urban culture, he sets up certain relationships between concealment and display, anonymity and identity.

Places displaying the flag so far is: Fotografisk Center, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Civic Room, lokal_30, Galleri Format, 2B Galéria, INDA Gallery, Brass’Art Digitaal. More places to come.

GET INVOLVED

1. EXHIBIT THE FLAG

If you want to exhibit the flag, please use the contact details below. A flag will be posted to the address you provide free of cost. This will happen a week or two before the 20th of June. Once the 20th of June comes, please exhibit the flag, preferably hanging on a flagpole outside your space, or anywhere else you see fit.

2. SHARE THE PROJECT

Share the project with others. Share it on Facebook. Share it on Instagram. Share it on Twitter. Share via email. Share the posters. Share this site.

3. PRINT AND HANG

Download one of the posters found in our press material. Print it out and hang it on your wall. Hang it outside. Hang it at your school. Hang it at your work. Take a photo of the poster or the flag if you spot it, and share it with us, either via email or on social medias using the hashtag #whoisproject.