510 days 510 nights

Artist 1:Christine Toh
Artist 2:Sabine Kussmaul
Artist 3:Tania Oakshott

Screen printed cotton, organza and acrylic, paper cutting

Human migration is mainly economic but also environmental, cultural or political, a consequence of wars and instability of many countries in the world.

The theme of hospitality is an opportunity to reflect on the problem of indefinite detention in British prisons for hundreds of foreign nationals beyond the time of their sentence without any reasonable justification.
With no time limit on immigration detention powers detainees can be locked up for weeks, months or in some cases even years waiting for their cases to be resolved. Few people are aware of this situation and realize how inhuman, unfair, inefficient and also costly the immigration system is.

In August 2010, I started to visit A0149AJ whose sentence had just come to an end. It took 17 months before UKBA released him. He received also an indefinite leave to remain status as the immigration having already recognized him as a refugee couldn’t send him back in his country of origin, finally recognized that they couldn’t deport him to Rwanda.

17 months is 510 days and 510 nights. Sleep is probably the only escape if you manage to find some sleep during this extremely stressful and painful situation. This piece of work is a small attempt to make the experience of one detainee more visible to the public.

I passed on a screen printed pillow case and a white sheet. A bed where to sleep, a pillow on which to rest, but what type of dreams do you have when your future is hanging in the hand of a system which will systematically try everything to get rid of you despite the validity of your personal circumstances. You are not a human being anymore in the hands of the immigration but a number that it is necessary to erase.

Sabine responded to this piece in creating a protective layer over the pillow and added a printed piece and a letter responding to the feeling of the distress encountered.

Tania decided to cut out 510 silhouettes to symbolize the 17 months, 510 nights that the detainee tried to find rest on his pillow.

Artist:Christine Toh


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