The Sea is the Limit

The Sea is the Limit at York Art Gallery

Thought provoking works of art exploring the current and ongoing issues of migration, dispossession and national borders are brought together in this major new exhibition at York Art Gallery. Eleven international artists including Nidhal Chamekh (Tunisia/France), Taus Makhacheva (Dagestan/Russia), Shahram Entekhabi (Iran/Germany), Brian Maguire (Ireland), Mohammed Sami (Iraq/UK), Vanessa Vozzo (Italy), Vladimir Miladinović (Serbia), Halil Altindere (Turkey), Varvara Shavrova (USSR/Ireland/UK), Nick Ellwood (UK) and Susan Stockwell (UK) use their work to question the meaning of nationalism, free movement, inclusion and exclusion, drawing on both the historical and contemporary narratives which shape identity and opinion. The exhibition expresses a desire for freedom and a better life that stands in sharp contrast to the reality the migrants experience on their journeys. The project has been organised by York Art Gallery and contemporary artist Varvara Shavrova, exhibition’s curator, in collaboration with Patrick Heide, and will feature 25 art works in a wide range of media such as audio visual objects, interactive installations, drawings, paintings, sculpture and audio and video works.  The exhibition will take place in the Madsen One and Madsen Two Galleries.

Ways of Telling: The Sea is the Limit is a workshop, bringing together artists and young people from Shpresa Programme, a registered charity and active user-led organisation that advances the education and training of Albanian speaking people in the UK.The workshop takes as its focal point The Sea is the Limit . Three artists, Varvara Shavrova, Mohammed Sami and Susan Stockwell discuss their work with two academics and migration researchers, Simon Parker and Maggie O’Neill (University of York Migration Network), based around a series of provocations on ‘what and where are the limits’ (in relation to art, the transformative role of art, biography, imagination, politics and ethics).

In the final section of this workshop, four Albanian young people with lived experience of the asylum system and seeking international protection will join the panel to discuss their reaction to the Who Are We? programme and the Sea is the Limit. They will also talk about the how their lives have been limited not only by the water borders that surround Albania and the UK but how the struggle for status dominates their lives and exposes them to a rage of risks and dangers that they would have to face alone were it not for the support of organisations such as Shpresa.

Photo by Anthony Chappel Ross