Female Immigrants and Related Artwork Favorite 

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Jan 1 2019

Location: 

Spain

As massacres, civil wars, and violence permeated communities, people have searched for asylum in other countries. Due to its location and relative safety, Spain has become a common destination for immigrants seeking a better life. Female immigrants in particular tend to experience much more arduous journeys in that they frequently are subjugated to sexual abuse. Journalist Lucia Benavides has interviewed a few women who have made the particularly intense migration from Africa into Spain, and shares their raw perspectives on the issues with the system. One such woman she interviewed is Joy Good, a woman from Morocco who was rescued from a rubber dinghy bobbing off the coast of Spain last August. Good says, “The police [at the Morocco-Algeria border] would see us and they said they wanted to make love to us. They beat everybody. They always beat. They also beat me,” (New Internationalist). In an article from El País, María Martín writes that “According to a study by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), based on 1,341 interviews with migrants and refugees, 48% suffered at least one out of the five indicators that the organization links to human trafficking, exploitation and abuse,” (El País). This demonstrates the serious issue concerning the physical and emotional safety of immigrants. It is not an isolated issue that only a few women experience; rather, it is an ongoing problem that affects almost half of the people who make the journey to a new country. Salma Zulfiqar, an international artist and activist, has begun a project called The Migration Blanket in an effort to support female immigrants who have made it to Spain, but are still suffering from the repercussions of their abuse on their journeys from their home countries. The project is a patchwork-like quilt on which women immigrants from Africa would add their own section, using text, color, and imagery to convey their experiences. Zulfiquar says that the aim was to show “their struggles and hopes and dreams and helped them realise their ambitions in life as well as educate the public on issues affecting refugee and asylum seekers in the UK. This exhibition explores the struggles, hopes and dreams of refugee and migrant women through art,” (Salma Zulfiqar). Many of these women who arrived in Spain suffer from depression due to the memories associated with the migration, and the difficulties in adjusting to a foreign culture. The blanket points to the issues that the women immigrants face, such as being treated as less than human, striving to find a better life for their children, and the stereotypes and maltreatment associated with migrating. Therefore, the project constitutes as Social Practice Art in that women immigrants collaborate together to create the Migration Blanket to raise awareness of the problems associated with female immigration. It is not only a platform for the women to express themselves and share their stories, but also as an emotional outlet for coping in solidarity with others who have gone through the same struggles.

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