‘Refugees Welcome’ is a mobile installation comprising a Luton tail lift van – a potent symbol representing refugees crossing borders. The interior of the van is revamped to a ‘camper van’ with soft furnishings and visuals evoking the ‘British Welcome’. Its exterior will contain a neon sign of ‘Hope’.
The agitprop element builds upon Alketa’s experience of arriving in the UK as a refugee in the late 1990s. It draws on the act of memory and uses as a prompt for conversations with visitors to the van, extending the gesture of ‘fancy a tea with a refugee’. The mix of agitprop, site-specific happening, installation and live encounter engages with current shifts in attitudes to ‘welcome’. Visitors will be asked to leave their thoughts in the comments book, where stories will be shared via social media and local radio.
Alketa’s Refugees Welcome was parked on the North Landscape (riverside) outside the Tate Thursday 16 March, through to Sunday 19 March 2017.
Alketa Xhafa Mripa was born in Kosovo in 1980 and came to London in 1997, where she completed her studies at Central Saint Martins. Her artistic practice, which takes many forms including paintings, photography, embroidery, films and installations, advocates for women’s liberation and independence. Xhafa Mripa’s creative vision generates provocative ideas that raise awareness of the way oppressive societies not only behave but also mythologise women into archetypes. A bold activist artist, Xhafa Mripa is a passionate campaigner for human rights, especially for the empowerment of women living in oppressive societies.
Alketa receives ongoing support from Kristale I. Rama at Balkan Artists Guild.