The photographic series Drowned and Talcum entails Seba Kurtis’ responses to two incidents where refugees lost their lives amidst the arduous journey to safety.
In the series Drowned, the artist responds to the tragic occurrence of refugees dying during the course of their voyage across the Mediterranean Sea. For these images, the artist employed the technique of immersing the film in salt water so as to damage the chemical composition of the film, and consequently, the developed images. On the other hand, Talcum makes reference to another incident where refugees from the Middle East were being smuggled in a truck containing talcum powder so as to cross the British border. The collaged images featuring rocks in the foreground allude to the prioritisation of inorganic material over human lives.
As a contrast to the reduction of the human lives lost in these journeys in the news and media, Kurtis’ images prompt a deeper reflection of the fraught journeys and circumstances.
Seba Kurtis (b. 1974, Argentina) studied journalism in Buenos Aires before leaving for Europe in the wake of the political and economic crisis of 2001. His work, informed by several years spent as an illegal immigrant, explores the personal, social and cultural impact of irregular migration. He lives and works in Manchester, UK.