Aida Silvestri, BJP’s Best of show at last year’s Free Range graduate exhibition, exhibits work
University of Westminster BA photography graduate Aida Silvestri is showing images from Even This Will Pass at Roman Road Project Space in east London.
The series, which was featured in BJP last year and is Silvestri’s final degree project, documents human trafficking in Eritrea, east Africa, where she was born.
The images show portraits of refugees who travelled to London from Eritrea to escape oppression in their home country. Silvestri blurred the people’s faces and hand-stitched the routes they travelled onto the images.
Silvestri told BJP last year: “I wanted to find a way to tell these stories… to discuss the journeys people made. [But] people were frightened to talk about their experiences. I wanted to show this fear, and I wondered how I could do this through photography. In the end I decided to blur the faces by defocusing the lens. The people may not be there physically but their soul is there.”
The exhibition, which is supported by Autograph ABP, also features a large map showing the journeys made, and each portrait has an accompanying text that relays individual experiences.
“Mapping the journeys graphically allows the viewer to trace these journeys,” says Silvestri. “In the early days [of the regime] people took a plane but others travelled on foot and by car to a point where they could catch a plane. The journeys have become increasingly difficult.”
The project’s title, Even This Will Pass, echoes a message written on a wall on Mount Sinai that Silvestri came across while researching. “People wrote messages of hope during their journeys and I thought this one was quite special.”
The exhibition runs until 26 April at Roman Road Project Space, east London.