Port of Call (2002)
Islam in the UK, as a theme and subject for exploration is inseparable from the broader canvas of identity and citizenship politics in a culturally diverse and contemporary Britain. Port of Call interrogates the terminology, bureaucratic language and inference (defining the issue of asylum and nationality) as contained in the British Government's White Paper ‘Secure Borders, Safe Haven: Integration with Diversity in Modern Britain’.
In utilising these texts within new ‘pictorial’ representations of England, the intention is to subvert the classical imagining and imaging of the country. And in so doing, tease out the accompanying romanticized notions of a green, pleasant and genteel land. Ideals which seem redundant and at odds with present reality. These visual texts update and critically reflect the social landscape of a 21st Century England.
This photographic inquiry into the psychology and politics of borders, identity and culture, asylum and migration seems especially appropriate in this current period of international debate and discourse concerning globalisation, the West versus the rest (of the World) and the mass movement of peoples across continents to new countries of ‘safe haven’.
Port of Call was a British Council commission for Common Ground: Aspects of contemporary British Muslim experience
Port of Call consists of 15 images
All images 60.9x83.8cm archival giclée prints on rag paper
All quotes and text incorporated into images © Crown Copyright 2001. Reproduced from the Government White Paper, ‘Secure borders, Safe Haven, Integration with Diversity in Modern Britain’ presented to the British Parliament February 2002. This paper was the basis for the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002. Official UK figures for the 4th quarter of 2002, indicate that of the top ten countries from which asylum applicants originate, six of those nation states (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Turkey), have a majority or significant Muslim populace. In the images, the incorporated text with the extended captions below the photographs in the exhibition, provide important contextualisation and focus on the asylum situation in the UK.