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-The Great Escape-


Tarifa. 2001.

By Daniel Richter.

Oil on canvas.

350 x 280 cm

Tarifa shows seven figures with multi-coloured faces and heavy-looking patterned coats on an orange dinghy they seem to weighing down. A few of them have their eyes wide open, terror-struck. The fear is evident but from what? Where are these people going and from what are they escaping?

They, like refugees, may be strangers forced to survive with one another. The expanse of the cinder ocean with its faint tinted ripples show the enormity of whatever predicament they are in. Possibly in for a long quiet night far away from shore- or maybe closer to their ‘greener grass on the other side’.

The quietness of the night may not be what frightens them the most. Huddled together, these people do not want to be seen. They want to get wherever they are going inconspicuously; which is ironic given how colourfully florescent their coats, faces and dinghy are.

In a situation from which there is no return, they are terrified but driven by the hope of better continuations of their lives wherever they end up.

To us, as is the life of many migrants, these seven float into oblivion. Maybe ‘migrants’ here should not be limited to refugees and people moving from country to county- we too migrate from various phases of life into others, huddled together with strangers we learn to call friends in this unforgiving ocean of existence, holding on to the hope of arriving at shores of better days.

Tarifa is actually a much larger painting than one would expect- three and a half meters tall and almost as wide. If you stood in front of this, the migrants would float over your head and you might just feel like you’re lost in this dark unpredictable sea too.

 Art by Cindy

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