Denmark deported illegal immigrants

Qantara.de - Dialogue with the Islamic World

Daniela Ortiz, a pregnant Peruvian woman, enters the meeting room. It is connected to another human life. A blood tube in a vein in her right arm connects her to a vein in the left arm of the man who is accompanying her, a Spaniard named Xose Quiroga.

Ortiz sits down in front of her audience and begins her performance: "The daughters and sons of the migrants can be automatically cataloged as illegal immigrants by the racist and colonial laws ... My blood and that of my baby are from the acquisition of the [Spanish] nationality excluded, "she continues, while her" Peruvian blood "mixes with the" Spanish blood "Quirogas. Ortiz showed her performance at the opening of the exhibition Deportation Regime in the Danish capital - a country that is currently notorious for its tightening of asylum law.

Inherited migrant status

For Ortiz, who has been producing immigration and displacement art for the past five years, this exhibition provided an opportunity to draw more attention to the antiquated "blood right" rule in nineteenth-century immigration laws that still existed in most countries around the world always applies.

"Nationality is not the only thing that our children inherit from us, we also pass on our status as migrants to them," emphasizes Ortiz. "If parents in Europe are considered 'illegal' immigrants, their children are automatically 'illegal' citizens too, regardless of where they were born."

Ortiz believes that concepts such as freedom of movement, globalization and the labor market represent ideas of modern colonialism. "These are laws that European states have introduced for their own benefit," she explains. "The only people who benefit from these laws and agreements are the Europeans themselves. They can move around freely, trade across borders and gain access to more labor resources. People like us from the 'old colonies' have in the Usually only the option of serving as cheap labor or doing hard physical labor, which most Europeans do not want to do. "

The Peruvian artist came to Europe in 2007 and now lives in Spain with a temporary residence permit. In their opinion, even the integration process and its regulatory framework is deeply rooted in the colonial system. "They look down on us as if we don't know how to live and how to behave," she observed. "If we want to adopt their nationality, they first check whether we know how to behave. Then, when we pass the test, we are allowed to stay. This corresponds to the same mindset from which the West attacked Iraq and Afghanistan in order to bring them democracy. "

Non-racist husband with EU passport "wanted

In addition to Ortiz, artists from Iran, Cambodia and the United States are also showing their art in the current CAMP exhibition in Copenhagen, which deals with issues of immigration and deportation. Ghazal, an Iranian artist who lives in France, presents with her project "WANTED (Urgent)" a series of black and white posters looking for a "non-racist husband with an EU passport" - in the hope of avoiding deportation .

Frederikke Hansen, one of the two CAMP directors, reports that the opening of this 45-square-meter gallery was the result of a ten-year study of northern European colonialism and its influence on other nations. "Through works of art we can explain to people what a border is and what camp and internment mean," she says.

CAMP started hosting immigration-related exhibitions in April 2015 and is the only arts center in Scandinavia dedicated to this topic. Earlier CAMP exhibitions, which were also shown in the Danish National Gallery, were called Artistic Reflections on the Politics of "Interning Refugees and Migrants", "Travels of Historical Uncertainty" and "The Dividing Line".

At the entrance to the gallery is an installation by Dady de Maximo, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. His art depicts a group of mannequins dressed in refugee life jackets and UNHCR plastic sheeting. Crowns of barbed wire are wrapped around their wrists, reminiscent of the crown of thorns that Jesus was put on to mock his claims.

Marianne Torp, chief curator of the Danish National Gallery, believes that the current discussion about the immigration debate in Europe can be positively influenced by art centers. "We had a keen interest in changing the prejudiced view of Danish citizens about the situation of immigrants to Denmark. At a time of increasing international migration we need to think about what it means to be a nation and how we expand the nation idea and can develop further. "

Art as a means of change

Most of the artists whose works are shown in the CAMP exhibition have themselves gained experience as refugees or immigrants. With the help of photographs, sculptures, video art and installations, they tell their stories of displacement, flight and hopelessness.

"These artists lived in refugee camps or were held in internment camps," emphasizes Tone Olaf Nielsen, another CAMP manager. "They are the experts who can bear witness to flight and violence and make it clear to the privileged classes that something has to change in this situation."

When asked about the main goal of the art center, Nielsen explains that the CAMP artists try to deal primarily with the question of flight and displacement: "Why can some of us move around the world freely and without a visa, while others seek one Crossing the border into an asylum seekers' home, internment camp or even jail? We have to find ways to deal with people who have been forced to flee their hometowns because their homes have been bombed or threatened with death because of their sexuality, "added Nielsen added. "If I ever have to leave my country, I hope that there will be someone who will welcome me."

Changiz M. Varzi

© Qantara.de 2016