‘We call these fenced migrant camps “jungles”, as if they are all savages, when what they are doing is trying to escape savagery’.
I wobbled, eyes stinging in an attempt to hold back tears. Though physcially I was sat down in a performance space at Imperial War Museum London, my mind was inside what I could see projected on the wall. I was standing on a jetty, looking out to Britain from Calais, joining the thousands of refugees thinking the same thing: what do I call home and what does it mean to me now?
Carefully challenging his audience to express what home means to them in a ‘post-9/11’ world, Aman leads them down the path of his own experiences – racism as a kid in Florida, visiting his uncle leading the battle for Jalalabad in 1990, moving to Kabul in 2003.
Blurring fact with fiction, he presents postcards of real sites of American drone strikes – some of them beautiful landscapes that he urges us we may wish to one day see – alongside objects he has created to serve a purpose. Prayer beads from a fictitious ‘Tigers of Allah’ group, mud brick, a series of child-like drawings depicting war gradually tearing a family apart.
The performance culminates in a literal ripping apart of what we identify ‘home’ to be, in order that a new home might be built, one that we can all identify with and share.
As Aman says: ‘either voluntarily or involuntarily, because they don’t have a choice, people are trying to find their place in the world…no-one’s first choice is to leave their country, leave their home…the whole notion of “home” has changed for a lot of people’.
Aman Mojadidi: Remembering a Future takes place 10-11 February at Imperial War Museum London at 11am, 2pm and 4pm. The performances are part of the event programme for major show Age of Terror: Art since 9/11.
Tickets £6 adults or £5 concessions and exhibition ticket holders. After the performances have ended, the end result is free to view from 16 February – 27 May.
© Imperial War Museums
Full disclosure, I work for Imperial War Museums in the Marketing team on campaigns including our current major show Age of Terror: Art since 9/11, on until 28 May.
I’d love to hear from you if you managed to make it along to meet Aman Mojadidi over the weekend, or would like to share where or what you identify ‘home’ to be.