Hand poised above a world map, pen gliding along the path traveled, each person tells the story of his or her life, the journeys across seas and continents, by foot, train, car and boat.
In an airy lobby at MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, wide video screens reveal the stories of eight people, each of whom left home, travelling illegally, without papers, in search of a better life. We hear people tell their stories. We never see their faces. We don’t hear their names. Each video screen shows a map, with a hand, a pen, and the speaker’s words.
I move from bench to bench, watching each video screen, headphones on, listening to the odysseys from home, be it Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mogadishu, or Ramallah.
Each person calmly traces a journey, in black magic marker over a colorful map. The lines cut across countries and seas, sometimes backtracking, returning to stay at uncle’s home in Spain; caught again by the police in Istanbul.
A woman from Mogadishu details her travels from Ethiopia to Sudan to Libya to Italy, where she has learned the language and has a job. She dreams of living in Norway. Continue reading “Mapping their journeys”