Our project photojournalist, Carey Marks, spent the day working with individual participants. Carey is working on a series of portraits capturing the essence of the person not their status. While photos were taken, the other participants were developing their maps. We paused to ask about crucial issues related to housing, sharing a life, getting on with other people from different parts of the world who are also seeking asylum.
Basma from Baghdad: “I don’t need to remember, it’s all in here” pointing to her head. She is now sharing a flat with another participant in the project, Arzu from Azerbaijan. They tease each other about having to share and put up with each other but you can sense a sibling-like feelings between them. They reflect, relatively, a good example of what random house/flat sharing set up by the Home Office can result in. Others don’t necessarily echo their experience. They speak of having to ask to be removed several times from a particular shared property and having to wait for long periods of time for disputes or other issues to be resolved. Also having to deal with private investors/property managers who aren’t particularly looking after their tenants was a shared concern.
Mohammed from Gaza was frustrated looking at his set of printed maps, saying: “These maps aren’t correct”, “They (map makers) are trying to change my country on a daily basis, not only the places are wrong, the names of streets are wrong”. He was encouraged to draw the map how he remembers it, drawing what he thinks is correct. He started dotting in red the missing parts of the map saying: “I feel nostalgic to the past”. Mohammed shares a flat with three other men who come from different parts of the world.
Mohammed mapmaking Gaza.