By Dipesh Pandya
Immigrants vs. Ignorants – I.A.M. reclaiming language, time and space to tell our own stories in opposition to the oppressive hostile environment created by global governments and media. An act of resistance to laws, structures and narratives centred on the victimisation of migrant and immigrant life.
A refusal to accept the rhetoric around nationalism and the good immigrant syndrome in favour of a celebration of our journeys, our names, our accents, our food, our music, our clothing, our talent, our ways of living and our future cultures.
A reminder that we are the global majority.
I.A.M. a small-scale, long-term and hyperlocal arts initiative existing as part of my work in social practice. All profits from the collection of t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and chappals will be specifically used towards this ongoing project working with children and adults from migrant communities in Margate, England.
Browse the full collection at handsupifyourebrown.com/iam
I.A.M. celebrating the multiplicity of cultures living and working in Cliftonville and the wider Margate area. Tired of the lazy and repetetive copy and waste news articles and surface level media reports covering Margate, I.A.M. advocating for meaningful exchange and a respectful representation of migrant and immigrant communities building on a series of invitations to participate in conversations and interactions.
This initial stage of the initiative will work towards identifying and establishing projects for exchange and development of skills, the sharing of oral histories, memory creation; and other systems of disseminating knowledge embedded in alternative forms of archive, with connections to specific individuals and families. These efforts will allow our cultures to be carried along with our voices, far into the future by controlling narratives on the issues ultimately affecting our lives and defining our communities.
The multiplicity of meaning evoked by the symbiotic concepts reflected within the typography, together with its messaging and use on clothing as commercial merch, are simultaneous and powerful acts of resistance, pride and protest. Taking on a deeper relevance of who and what is visible while invisible, at the same time reclaiming space through the activation of composite performativity by the act of wearing in public.
Merch from I.A.M. along with the works from my ongoing project Welcome to Migrate are available to buy at hands.up.if.you.re.brown.corner.shop – a way of helping to sustain life as an artist and activist.
See what’s in store on the shelves or browse the full collection here
Still images in the video by @bendriftwoodphotography video footage by Suresh Basnet
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