Collection: iMigration Endurance

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By: Kidist Hailu Degaffe

endurance art, women and children, tenacity, migration, intercultural exchange, integration

It is the narration of Migration, cultural exchange, cultural shock, enduring tensions and contradictions on the way to integration. The (i) in iMigration is to imply the age of information and global connectivity.

Artistic narrations are drawn partially from the background of the artist herself, i.e. her life trajectory of growing up in Africa, then travelling to finally settle in Europe with her husband. Themes of families dispersed between continents, cultural shock, folklore, integration etc. are portrayed through symbolic objects such as a bar of chocolate to take a hint of irony, humor or pathos.

Often allegoric, Degaffe’s art includes the 'endurance art features' such as an elongated neck for tenacity, faces without ears symbolizing not being heard, discs representing the Ethiopian bread “Injera” but also recurring thoughts in our head, protruding rib cages evocating hunger or other forms of deprivation, and a missing eye which is looking into the interior or symbolizes being watched. The background is often filled with moving bodies of water and mountains. Human portraits and landscapes are incorporated into each other.

"Art is in each one of us, it is the expression which is different"

African Women with Chocolate (2009)

The cold Swiss wind is blowing over the hair and face of the African woman. She is holding a bar of chocolate as prove of her integration…the posture slightly ironic, as betrayed by her smile.

L'ascension du Cervin (2016)

At the northern end of the African tectonic plate the three tigers representing neutrality, universality and territorial integrity, guard the Matterhorn, symbol of Switzerland, which was made by immigration and successful integration.

They defend and protect this land. Proudly, they carry it high in the face of humanity.

Switzerland and Me (2013)

Cliché of integration (chocolate bar) put on the pedestal but connected with the protagonist only with a thin wire,...

Evocation of migration, cultural shock, integration, but also tenacity represented by the elongated neck. The face without ears signifying the difficulty to be heard, and the protruding rib-cage the stress of adjusting.

iMigration Alps (2015)

Dichotomy and fusion;

Mountains and the Mediterranean sea (in this case represented by lake Geneva) as narratives of endurance.

The protagonists of the journey as part of the universe implying our global challenges.

iMigration Endurance (2015)

Mediterranean sea, immigration, the figurine wants to stay stable against the onslaught of the waves by attaching itself to a tree (allegory to refuge),...on the far horizon one sees a ship,...

Sirene nel Mediterraneo (2018)

Three figurines in the Mediterranean sea. iMigration, the epoch of global connectivity.
The tree of knowledge, on which leaves are books and pens... blue, red, yellow mouths, thirst for fundamental education. Tumultuous waves, challenge of moving water, limit the access to education for all.

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