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Message in Bottle (on-going participatory project)

“Message in a bottle” is a collaborative project to commemorate the lives of refugees and migrants that have been lost crossing the Mediterranean Sea (over 20,000 since 2014). The project was commissioned in early 2019 by SEAS, produced by the photographer and community facilitator Jane Lancashire with the consultation of Dr Gil Mualem-Doron, SEAS’s creative producer.

The project includes so far the participation of more than 250 people from various community groups in South East England and from May it is open for online participation of people from across the globe.“Message in a Bottle” consists of messages in multiple languages solidarity with migrants who in the way of seeking refuge lost their lives in the sea. These messages are written onto sections of plastic cut from recycled plastic bottles which were reshaped to resemble drops. Each piece represents a single lost life.

Inspired by a piece of art called The Fallen, displayed in Dublin cathedral to commemorate the 36,000 Irish lives lost during WW1, the thousands of “drops” with their written messages will be used for a large multimedia installation at SEAS in December 2020. We hope the installation will shine a spotlight on the very under-reported statistics of lives lost seeking sanctuary.

As an on-going project, and as the result of the Covid19 crisis, the project will continue to develop online through SEAS website and social media. It will be a test case for the possibilities of on-line collaborative and socially engaged artwork. To view the work in process please click here. To take part in the creation of the work please click here.

Jane Lancashire, a professional photographer for 15 years until moving into the world of volunteering for refugee and asylum seeker related projects.In the past five years Jane has been part of the Migrant English Project (Brighton, UK) where she volunteers, teaching English, cooking, support poetry classes and conduct art classes.She also mentors unaccompanied asylum-seeking children at Enthum House in Eastbourne, UK, where she has worked since 2018 and she is a commitee member of “Lewes Organisation in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers” where she organises talks and other public events.

More about Jane’s work can be found on Instagram @2020messageinabottle

Pending funding, the international participatory online project that will be part of the final art project will be launched in June. Watch this space.


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