As a conflict artist, my abiding interest lies in the consequences of war, and the human face of conflict. Since 2006, I have worked with forces in Southern Iraq and Afghanistan, and more recently travelled to Lesbos to document the thousands of Afghans, Syrian and Iraqis arriving on the shores of Europe.
Refugees are landing in small rubber dinghies often traumatised and separated from their families, carrying with them the scars of war and the terror of a sea crossing in overladen boats that have claimed the lives of thousands. Nowhere have I been so overwhelmed by the repercussions of war, than in the human drama unfolding on those beaches. Flight, St James’s Piccadilly, London, 2015-16 was my first in a series of planned artworks in response to this crisis.
Since the start of the Syrian conflict, more than 2.3 million children have fled war and persecution. They have fled with nothing and most live in abject poverty, disempowered and voiceless, without education, without the ability to tell their story or to connect with the family and culture they have left behind.
Today in Europe, over 30,000 of these children have gone missing, many of whom may have been taken by traffickers into sex slavery, child labour and the harvesting of body parts.
Through a series of children’s drawings, audio recordings and live performances, the installation artwork Tunnel London will highlight the urgent plight of unaccompanied child refugees at a time when they are at their most vulnerable; as they struggle to survive against the elements, at risk from the traffickers and other unspeakable horrors that we could not begin to imagine.