Yesterday was the Afghanistan withdrawal deadline. The Americans have left the country. All other foreign country troops left over the weekend or on Friday. For many Afghans, this would mean the loss of a precious route out.
The Taliban is still hunting down journalists, activists, former local staff and their families. Some have already been killed over the past weeks. People want to leave and live.
This painting sums up how I’ve been feeling over the past weeks – trying to help some families there while physically being in a country of privilege and comfort. Life went on as per normal here, the news of Afghanistan just a tragedy worthy of maybe five minutes of attention for many people here. Over there it’s life and death, trauma and fear.
My midnights spent researching and writing emails to embassies received no response. Over there, it’s a privilege to have a passport, to be educated, to understand a different language, to have worked for international organisations. Many people don’t have that privilege and without that, not even a shot at making it to the evacuation list.
As of now, if you are on the Taliban’s black list, there’s no legal way out. In fact, for most Afghans there’s no way out that’s not dangerous or life threatening.
I’m writing this so that the Afghans left behind will not be forgotten. I’m writing this so that more of us will care enough to try and do something or influence our governments. I’m writing this so that precious lives won’t be forgotten and swept away as just another tragedy we cannot do anything about so we pretend nothing happened.
Spreading positivity across the globe. Starting from Venice Biennale to Edinburgh Fringe Festival and finally ending off with Singapore’s art hot pot Gillman Barracks, I brought memory sharing to these different cities. Sad memories are released from the owners and stay in the pocket, while happy memories travel to strangers’ pockets to stay in the form of smiles on their faces.
Share a memory in exchange for a happy memory.
My most memorable ones? Kids x2, Swimming with dolphins
An open invite to people to share their stories of home and their background and experiences. A personal conversation to connect in a fast paced and diverse city, an attempt to break barriers and foster understanding amidst nationalist and anti-immigrants sentiments.
Performed at Battersea Arts Centre as part of Homegrown festival, 8 April 2017.
Sally carried the memories of refugees and volunteers at camps. This performance in particular was a social experiment to see the response of people in lieu of growing political tensions and xenophobia.
Do you live in your imagination? An altered reality away from what’s really happening in everyday life? We are advertising a reality that we want to be in. A collection if ideas from post-capitalism to global citizenship. We propose a more connected and caring community with individuals striving for purpose, meaning and wellbeing rather than their net worth. This film has participatory culture as its central tenet and proposes a future outside of capitalism. We all dream of different realities and there is no one path or one destination.
Project by Fié Neo and Alcinda Lee
Exhibited at Lethaby Gallery, London; 22 February – 11 March
Immersive and interactive performance at Royal Albert Hall, Prince of Wales room
6 March 2017
“If all the paintings in this room were sold, people wouldn’t be homeless.”
A group of protestors infiltrated Royal Albert Hall and occupied the posh VIP room. Newspaper articles of various social and political issues like Trump’s muslim ban and infiltration plans scatter the floor. The audience are invited to engage in a meaningful conversation on socio-political issues they are passionate about.
“The citizens who don’t understand Islam – the ones who has a mentality like ISIS – cut off the neck of innocent soldiers. The news didn’t mention how these citizens behaved to innocent people. More than 300 people dies including police officers, soldiers and civilians in Istanbul.”
“It would be much easier to process and mourn if these motherfuckers didn’t honk and celebrate their fucking ‘victory’. 260 people dies and people are happy. Very good job beheading innocent privates who had no idea about the coup and didn’t fire a single round. I can’t believe this shit and I can’t sustain my frustration and anger. It’s not easy to get used to live with ISIS – mentality on a daily basis ffs.”
“These children are stressed, tired and incredibly vulnerable. They are trying every night to negotiate climbing onto lorries on the motorway. The whole point of the Alf Dubs amendment was about an immediate response not setting up a process. I can’t stand the idea that we will lose another child.”
“They sent me because my life was in danger. No one is safe in Afghanistan. There is not enough food now in Calais. We are hungry.”