Project Description

Bodyless

Bodyless is about reconstructing and retelling African (im)migration and refugee narratives through a book, Maltese poetry and a public exhibition.

‘Bodyless’, the visual arts exhibition curated by local artists Glen Calleja will take place at the Maritime Museum in Birgu between 1st October and 16th October.

The artists include Teresa Sciberras, Maxine Attard, Aaron Bezzina and Matthew Attard who are presenting works ranging from sculptures to installations alongside a Virtual Reality game developed specifically for this project by Sandro Spina in collaboration with the exhibition’s curator, Glen Calleja.

Clothes that have been collected from various beaches across Malta have been incorporated into the exhibition as well as various other pieces by the artists. The exhibition will include an experience that has never been seen before on the Maltese Islands.

‘Labirinti’ will be a virtual reality experience within the exhibition which will present users with access to the world of asylum seekers fleeing their homelands. The user will be fully immersed in a voyage and can interact with various characters, such as smugglers and other people travelling.

This immersive experience is a serious game whose main aim is to provide some insight into the complexities underlying the migration crisis, an up close and personal experience beyond the theoretical, political or media spectacles with an emphasis on the journey. In addition, ten educational Workshops will be provided to secondary school students during the mornings of the exhibition where their perceptions with regards to refugees and asylum seekers will be challenged.

Tal Kultura Volunteers will be supporting Kopin during the exhibition.

The project, which is financed by the Malta Arts Fund (Arts Council Malta), the UNHCR Malta and IOM Malta, U.S. Embassy consists of three phases:

  • Publication of the autobiographical story of Farah Abdullahi Abdi ‘Never Arrive’
  • Publication of a book of poetry in Maltese, based on Farah’s journey, by Glen Calleja ‘Iswed Assolut’
  • An audio-visual exhibition at the Maritime Museum in Birgu(October 1st- October 16th)

The project is supported by Kopin’s partner, the Terre des Hommes International Federation and the Destination Unknown Campaign about children on the move, of which Kopin is a member.

Phase 1 and 2 have just been concluded!

Never Arrive tells the story of Farah Abdullahi Abdi, a young Somali man, who is forced to flee his home in Kenya because of persecution and stigma associated with his sexual orientation. The publication was launched on the evening of 28th April at the President’s Palace in Valletta. H.E. Mrs Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the President of Malta, kindly hosted the launch.

The author is a young Somali refugee who came to Malta without his family at only 16 years of age. The book is based on his journey, not only physical but also mental and emotional, a story about one man’s dreams and aspirations and his challenges as he crosses borders and endures unspeakable hardships in search of the future he believes he deserves. It is a story of self- acceptance and the will to risk it all for freedom.

The often dangerous, brutal and terrifying events that most asylum seekers experience are vividly portrayed in Never Arrive. The book is available in outlets around Malta and Gozo as well as online at a price of €10.

The second phase of the project tackles migration issues through contemporary poetry in Maltese. For this phase, Kopin is collaborating with local poet Glen Calleja. The Poetry book will be launched at the end of the project in October 2016. Readings have been organised at University of Malta during Nights on Campus.

The main theme is the issue of spectatorship versus responsibility. A visual arts exhibition following the same theme will close the Bodyless project.

For more information about the project, visit Bodyless’s Facebook Page!

If you are a secondary school teacher, book the educational workshops for your class by emailing michelle.chehab@nullkopin.org