JHG Footprints Theme 4: Transition and Migration

Zineb Sedira, Remnants of a Scattered Vessel (2009), from the exhibition Seafaring, 2009. Courtesy the artist

JHG Footprints is an online exhibition using John Hansard Gallery’s archive. Four themes will be selected, each running for a fortnight, during which time we will be posting material from artists and shows associated with the chosen concept.

Theme 3: Transition and Migration

“Southampton is known internationally as a migratory city that is steeped in Maritime history dating back centuries. In more recent times, the first ocean liner dock opened in 1842, making it possible for larger ships to berth. Consequently, many shipping routes were opened, re-establishing Southampton’s connection to the international seas.

Throughout John Hansard Gallery’s 40-year exhibition history, themes relating to Southampton’s proximity to the sea, and universal concerns regarding migration and forced displacement have occurred in several permutations, all in their unique way and with their differing stances. Port City (2007) explored the relationship between global migration, trade and contemporary slavery. Today, working ports are increasingly closed off from everyday life to become sealed ‘points of exchange’ on the global network of trade, and in parallel becoming fragile gateways for the migrant worker. Ship to Shore (2014) explored notions of the sea in a holistic manner that included navigating the English coastline, photographic seascapes, an intimate portrait of a lighthouse, and the exploration of migratory routes taken in trepidation between Africa and Europe.

Together with these Maritime concerns, John Hansard Gallery has tackled notions of transition, geographical displacement, surveillance, and post-colonial history. Notable exhibitions include solo representations by Malaysian Chinese artist, Wong Hoy Cheong (2002) and Turkish artist Ergin Çavuşoğlu (2006). Cheong’s hand-crafted pieces looked to comment on Malaysia’s fragmented history, whilst Çavuşoğlu based his observations on his early life experiences in Bulgaria as part of the Turkish minority during the Socialist regime. In the form of multi-screen video installations, these works explored transmigration tensions in the East and West and the changing shifts in social traditions and political developments.

Discussions around transition and migration continue to hold a vital position amongst John Hansard Gallery’s exhibition programme, most recently evidenced in, Elaine Mitchener’s Sweet Tooth (2018), Anya Lewin’s More than Stories: A Film Trilogy (2019), Larry Achiampong’s When the Sky Falls (2020) and Seaside: Photographed (2020).”

Nadia Thondrayen, Exhibitions Curator
Joined John Hansard Gallery in 2014

Yto Barrada, Sleepers (2006) & Meschac Gaba, Sweetness (2006). Artists included: : Yto Barrada, Melanie Jackson, Meschac Gaba, and Mary Evans 
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