We are witnessing the third largest migration of modern history. There was the massive shifting of humanity caused by the Second World War, the movement of Muslims from India to Pakistan. Now, it is this march of mankind, from far distant corners of the earth; children from Bangladesh, families from Senegal, along with men and women from Syria, Irak and Afghanistan, entering modern Europe.
This talk is developed from our latest experience in Greece. It is a reflection of what we saw and heard while on a 2-month residency on the island of Lesvos during the summer of 2016. We got involved in local politics, made friends, and attended landings on the beaches. We also gave mask-making workshops to unaccompanied minors in both open camps and detention centers maintained by the military and federal police. During this time, we wrote weekly chronicles and made a series of images inspired by what we saw, heard, experienced.
The talk will focus on the current migrant and refugee situation (who they are, where they come from, where they are going); the risks they take (before getting to Greece crossing the Straits of Mytilini and once in the EU); who is involved and what their role is (smugglers, governments, fishermen, NGO’s, locals); the law of the sea; there is no end in sight; the call for a Safe Passage.
Sam is the founder and director of Dragon Dance Theatre. He is a multidisciplinary artist working as the artistic director of the theatre, but also deeply involved in graphic arts, painting and writing. Sam has organized and directed cultural exchange projects in Latin America and in Europe since 1990. Meanwhile he has exhibited graphic arts regularly in France, Quebec, Japan and China. His paintings are exhibited in Montreal and in Vermont. His artist's books are collected by major libraries in Canada and the US and he won the popular prize for his graphic works at the Rene Carcan exhibit in Belgium in 2014.
Katah has a degree in agriculture and worked in the field for a number of years. In 2001, she shifted her energies and is now artist and international coordinator for Dragon Dance Theatre. She was especially active in conceiving and organizing our recent project, Artists as Witnesses. Katah has been the driving force behind the Sam Kerson’s artist’s book projects which she has produced, printed and calligraphed. She has been acting in their theatre productions especially as Aphrodite, Psychie and Lemmenkainen, in France, Germany and Finland. Her grasp of three of the languages of North America has been a great aid to our international cultural exchange projects, which she has coordinated in Mexico since 2002. She also practices the graphic arts, especially as a printer, and has a deep interest in painting and studying the history of Europe as presented in the great novels.