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Liquid barriers

Updated: Jul 1, 2022

The theme liquid barriers illustrated for our participants a feeling of being sad, isolated, stuck, and exposed in the UK. One participant drew an ever-growing sea of tears because of feeling alone and cut off from her family in Europe. The combination of Brexit with the added restrictions of Covid for our participants had created barriers, a mass of impenetrable blue sea had become a border control that was difficult to navigate. The sea routes between the UK and Europe had once been a safe passage but had now become inhospitable, tormented, and agitated. Their explanations of their artwork exposed nuances around the sea being a danger zone. They described violently ripped up seas. The channel crossing between the UK and France had bombs falling from the sky marked with the words Covid, lockdown and settled status. One participant’s drawing showed a collapsed tunnel that had fallen away to expose cliffs that were a precipice into the sea.

Sandra, Italian

‘So I didn’t think at all my kids, I was already stuck that was a fact right. I was here and there was this huge blue dark barrier, the yellow is not because there’s anything happening but just to create some movement because this to me represents physically the tunnel so the water. It represents the sea of words and nonsense and confusion and that’s why I scattered letters over it and it’s just I couldn’t get through. I couldn’t get through and for the first time since I’ve been living abroad which was, let me think, seven to eight years I missed home’.

Corrine, French

‘So on this one, this is the first one I did, the other one I added, the sea is a lot more tormented, it’s like with lots of waves and agitated so that would be what I felt. This agitation where you’re not calm at all, you’re constantly waiting, waiting for something to change, the situation to change, like the good news to come or trying to reassure yourself and calm yourself down. It takes more energy than just fighting against the wave and all that then. So this is as well like, there was a bridge before between those two and of course it’s broken’.

Andrea, German

‘I mean before Brexit the sea was a geographical feature of my life but neutrally so yeah and it was also, yeah it was a conduit, it was a passage, it was a link between bits of landmass. I have completely changed my perspective on the sea now, it has become a source of conflict’.

‘But in principle and stuff the sea as you can see is ripped even, it hasn’t even been cut properly, it has actually been violently ripped’.

‘You know I can sit here now and lament and I remember when I was actually doing that piece and when I was ripping the sea apart whatever, I actually burst into tears because I almost felt I had seen enough’.

Ilma, Latvia

Interviewer: ‘I suppose a bed of tears’

'Well because you feel crap, sorry but you feel really bad, and you feel really sad’

Louis, French

‘Looking at friends getting further and further away’ (referring to drawing showing French Flag in the distance across the sea)

Interviewer: ‘Are these meant to be bullets coming down from the sky’?

‘They are bombs falling on our heads, definitely like a bomb shell falling on our heads, like something you potentially did not hear coming and when it’s there the repercussion is massive’.

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