The media has done a great job lately of talking about the migrant crisis happening in Europe. The one thing they haven't dug much into, until recently, is what the people are fleeing. At the bottom of this post, you'll find an interesting mapping project showing the migrant flow through Europe. You can really see the paths the migrants have taken.
The one thing the media hasn't dug much into though, until recently, is what the people are fleeing. We knew it was about instability in the Middle East, specifically Syria. And talk of Assad and Isis as causes. But I wanted to go backwards in time to better understand what led to this instability. I came across a great book about the rapid rise of Isis, "The Isis Apocolypse." William McCants goes into great detail about the growth of Isis, how Assad turned a convienient blind eye and what life is like for those under Isis's rule. Read this great overview here.
There have also been a lot of references to WWII with regard to the current mass migration. Well, it's starting to look a lot like WWII in the making in Syria as well. The power Isis holds in Syria draws some similarities to Hitler's early rise to power in Germany, albeit far more brutal. People have been turning a lot of blind eyes. I think with the Paris attacks, that might have changed. I'd been feeling a bit uneasy in making this new work about the migration through Europe, sitting over here in the U.S. safe and cozy. But it's just time to get to work and do my job, which is simply sharing the data I've found and presenting it through my work. My quirky obsession with maps and an interest in the concepts of home and rootedness once again comes together.
I had to step away from the work for a few days to sort it out in my mind. I used to worry when I went through these phases. I know my process well enough by now to know I just needed to wait for the answer to present itself to me. I realized that I need to work deeper in each of these pieces just as I had to do with my foreclosure quilts, and once again by hand. The images above are my attempt at sharing a more specific journey of the migrants. The examples above are of Petra Laszlo, a TV camerawoman, who tripped a migrant fleeing police inside Hungary. I've decided to imbed the images that pertain to my specific geographic area within each piece, telling a story about what occurred where. I just heard someone mention 'embroidery as historical documentation' which makes me want to research this concept more.