'The faces of hope: stories of immigration'

The portraits are made by charcoal on Fabriano paper, 38x54cm. The technique combines two tendencies; on the one hand, the academic tendency for producing shapes by shades in the attempt to explore the light as the symbolic realm of the scene, and, on the other hand, the illustrative tendency for producing lines, contrasts, and written texts. As in the former project, the subjectivity of the characters and the dramatization of the scenes are linked by the contrast between the glance of the characters and the text that emphasizes the tension of their inner life.

The topic of this project is the experience of immigration from a personal-psychological perspective. The project does not attempt to discuss politically the good and the bad of immigration as such, but rather to show what is at play in the experience of who is passing through it. I believe that we cannot take any further political decision if we didn´t observe first what is going on in it. I suggest that a sensible and consistent decision may be taken only after having taken into account the subject matter in a very comprehensive way, covering: the economic, political, social, cultural, moral and the personal-psychological point of view.

The portrayed characters present the struggling feelings of their everyday life as immigrants. In the experience of immigration, we are, so to speak, aware of everything as never before. Yes, even of the tiniest detail, not because it is just new, but rather because everything is unexpectedly strange for us. When we are “the other” we are existentially isolated in the very meaning of our known worldly life. However, this hard progress of detachment and adaptation also opens a very meditative dimension that is permanently awake as never before. Further, through the process to make own the strange, by adapting ourselves to another semantic field, we are somehow forced to choose ourselves every single time we have to re-learn something, even regarding what to feel. Finally, we change that far that we become foreigners in our own origin. We are not 'snobs' as someone may consider us without knowing what this experience is. It is just the normal consequence of our survival drive, which sets us in the awareness of ourselves regarding who we would become throughout this living process.

Visual Art is not just about prettiness. In Arís’ work, the beauty takes place as a way to create the scenario in which we may observe slowly how our human life is. This project is aimed to remark what we should not forget or overlook. Also, it is aimed to have the chance to stay longer in the silent understanding of the experience. Surrounded by all those characters, we may live the understanding without words. We do not need to get any theory, claim or judgment. The spectator can stay just there, feeling the presence of those who have been passing through the experience. Philosophical thinking is beyond any smart reasoning. It is there in the silent awareness of life and being through the cycles of our vanishing existence.

You may find the 20 drawing made for the exhibition "Faces of Hope: stories of immigration" clicking on this link.


The project was first shown during May 2017 at Europski Dom, Zagreb, Croatia, with the title: Faces of Hope: stories of immigration. You may find other pictures of the opening here.

The project was partially shown again during November 2017 at Freud bar, in London, U.K., with the title: Hope. You may find other pictures that I took while I was ambling around London with the mini-catalog here.

The project was firstly shown in during February 2018 at Elzenhof, Brussels, Belgium, with the title: HOPE in Brussels. You may find other pictures telling you how we got ready here.

The exhibition in London offered as well a small catalog of the selected 8 portraits with their pertaining "possible" story to the visitors. See more here.

The interview made by David Rey during the opening of Faces of Hope: stories of immigration on Friday 19th of May has been broadcast in Spanish on September 9th, 2017. You can listen to it at this link: HRT: September 9th, 2017

Different pages have promoted the event in Brussels during January and beginning of February 2018. You may find this info here.

Do you want to bring 'HOPE' to somewhere else?

Contact to vero.aris@gmail.com



Popular Posts