Judith Waters, a Hackney artist who migrated from Cameroon in 2005, has joined the 11 other artists on the Line -London’s first dedicated modern and contemporary art walk.
800 Shoes, is on display in the garden at the House Mill , Three Mill lane, E3 3DU, overlooking the River Lea, from June 29th to July 8th. This short residence is the first part of a journey to find a home for 800 shoes, which like all migrants is looking for a permanent refuge. 800 shoes commemorates the tragedy of the 800 children, women and men who drowned in April migrating across the Mediterranean. It shares the space with a 3 part video installation by the American artist Bill Viola.
800 Shoes is in two parts: outside the House Mill a shipping container is sinking beneath the waves. There is a shoe for each of the migrants who died when their ship sank on April 19/20th this year off the Libyan coast. Inside an installation of hand wound and hand knotted threads is mounted on a wall. From a window, the viewer can see this intimate textile and the tragedy unfolding outside. Judith hopes that her installation will let people see the tragedy of migration from the point of view of its victims; innocent people driven to risk their lives far from their homes.
“I wanted to help people visualise this tragedy, and see that each of the 800 children, women or men is a human life,” said Judith. “The greatest tragedy of this mass migration of people fleeing civil war, famine and hopeless poverty, is the tragedy of the migrants themselves, not the problem it might cause us. I hope people will see something of the humanity of the individual stories and feel compassion for migrants who feel forced to take such deadly risks”.
800 Shoes is spending 10 days at the House Mill on the Line, and will then continue its search for a more permanent home. Judithwaters.co.uk