‘Fragment of Another Life’ is a series of portraits of people recently arrived to the United Kingdom. Each shows the few mementoes that they managed to salvage from their previous lives and is personally annotated. The project, intended to be a video archive, turned into a linear installation, juxtaposing portraits and text narrative. The medium plays a large role in conveying the tone of the message.
When people flee their homes and homelands because of persecution, they are often lucky to escape with their lives – and precious little else.
‘Fragment of Another Life’ is a series of portraits of people recently arrived to the United Kingdom. Each shows the few mementoes that they managed to salvage from their previous lives and is personally annotated.
Rhonda says the idea for this piece came after visiting Ellis Island in New York, which a century ago was used as a reception centre for newly arriving immigrants to the United States: ”I am a South African living in London. My great grandparents were Russian Jews. At home we have a few objects that my forebears carried across the world, including a samovar. Since my childhood I have wondered why they chose to bring it, and how they carried it,” she says. “At the Ellis Island museum, for me, one of the most poignant exhibitions was that which had photos of early immigrants along with the things that they brought.”
The images, which are accompanied by remarks and observations of the refugees in their own respective languages, explore the struggles and sacrifice that each has endured to set foot on Britain’s shores.
Many had no choice but to abandon their friends, family, and homes with time only to grab a few personal possessions.”
How does ‘Fragment of Another Life’ speak to you?