The 18th of December is International Migrants Day established in 2000 by the United Nations to recognize the large and increasing number of migrants around the world.
The bonds of migration: debt, slavery and the vicious circle of poverty.
With Ashraf and Asma from Kerala, India.
They have worked many years in the Middle East in living and working conditions that amount to slavery. They have returned home ill. Since then they are unable to work and in debt.
Kerala, a state in South India is the largest ‘exporter’ of workers to the Middle East. In 2010 there were around 2.5 million Keralites working there. Their emigration can be only temporary, due to the immigration policies set forth by the Gulf States which prohibit permanent resettlement of foreign nationals. Amongst the migrants from Kerala, the unskilled ones who sacrifice so much to support their families suffer serious human rights violations and are thrown out of these countries when they are deemed not useful anymore. Very few manage to escape the dramatic slave-like conditions they are subject to. For most of them, returning home is only temporary relief as their financial situation remains dismal. Furthermore, having suffered irreversible damage, they are incapable of working like before in their homeland and therefore remain in a vicious circle of poverty.
Clémence B. T. D. Barret is a self- taught visual artist, who considers herself transnational. She’s based in Athens.
Migration, identity, otherness, freedom, ugliness and loss are some favorite notions she has been exploring. She has often used her own experiences as filters to enter into, investigate and understand these notions in new geographies and communities. Her expressions are composed of varied media – video, photography, sound, movement, objects, paintings, monotypes – combined together or not.