Anthony Haughey (2008)
A single channel video installation, mini-DV HD colour and sound. Duration 16 mins 40 secs looped
Nearly 6,000 immigrants have died on the frontiers of Europe since 1988. Every year thousands of migrants attempt life-threatening journeys from sub-Saharan African countries to Europe. Among them an estimated 1,883 have been lost at sea in the Sicilian Channel (Mediterranean Sea) between Libya, Tunisia, Malta and Italy. Migrants pay unscrupulous smugglers 1,500-2000 euro to travel from North Africa. The journey can take more than five days in dangerously overloaded wooden fishing boats inadequate for the task.
Prospect is a metaphoric journey filmed in the Western Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Malta, and the in-between spaces where refugees and asylum seekers contest for the right to live in a secure environment. The three protagonists featured in this film, Sadik, Hakim and Warsame are from Somalia and Liberia, all three have successfully made this perilous journey and found ‘temporary’ refuge in Malta – the most densely populated territory in Europe, where irregular migrants are unwelcome. Sadik and Hakim are living in a refugee centre situated in a harbour on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea where refugees have barely gained a foothold on Maltese territory, their journey to mainland Europe has temporarily stalled and they continue to wait… Meanwhile Warsame who was also rescued by the Maltese Navy has managed to get off the island and continued his journey to Dublin, where he is living in a small room on the North Circular Road.
Warsame narrates his perilous travel from Somalia to Europe, an epic journey that can often take more than three years. This first-hand account is a powerful testimony of forced migration across some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world.
The vantage point of the camera places the viewer in the position of sub-Saharan migrants traveling through endless miles of shifting sands and floating on turbulent waves in the sea.
The anonymous and threatening force of nature, a landscape of endless sand dunes and rolling seas is juxtaposed with the intimate lives and temporal homes of the two protagonists. Warsame’s articulate critical reflection reveals both his personal journey and the predicament of similar people caught in the stasis of European migration policy.