Alexandra Boucherifi, Contemporary art and migration: Sadika Keskes’ tribute to victims of the sea, VoxEurop, 16/10/2017

“Tunisian artist Sadika Keskes, with her latest performance on 1 October in Tunis, wanted to “restore dignity” to the thousands of migrants who died as they tried to cross the Mediterranean in search of a better life, and reminds Europe of its tradition of hospitality.

While Europe is struggling to find solutions to the migratory crisis, artists denounce these torn lives and try to restore dignity to the inert bodies that the sea rejects. Ai Weiwei followed the migrants on the paths of exile for two years and wants to erect a monument in their honour on the island of Lesbos. Others, like Ernest Pignon-Ernest, JR, Banksy, etc. have also faced the harsh reality of these departures for a better life through their artistic practices. The politically engaged Tunisian artist and glassmaker Sadika Keskes has created a performance called « Les tombeaux de la dignité » (dignity graves), in homage to the “no names”, the thousands of bodies of lifeless refugees found in sea, or on the beaches of the Mediterranean.

On 1 October, during a long procession-performance, the artist deposited seven glass tombs at sea, from the shores of Gammarth in the north of Tunis. Sadika Keskes is about to cross the Mediterranean by boat in a few days – depending on the agitation of the sea – to reiterate the action, on some beach of Lampedusa, the so called “paradise” of the migrants.” (…)

Photos: The symbolic funeral and burial at the sea ceremony performance led by Sadika Keskes on 1 October in Tunis. @Alexandra Boucherifi