Lampedusa, the refugee dream island in the Mediterranean Sea
Being the closest European island to Africa Lampedusa has become the island of hope for thousands of refugees arriving from Africa. It is a beacon for small, overloaded, unseaworthy wooden fishing boats arriving in the ‘sailing season’ each summer. The hulls of thousands of boats that have landed over the past twenty years lie abandoned on a beach just outside of the main town centre. In February 2015 more than 2,700 people arrived in small boats and dinghies. But not everyone aiming to live their dream is so lucky, often drowning at sea.
Lampedusa lies within the Pelagie Islands and has a total of about 20 square kilometres of land. The northeast side is bounded by inhospitable cliffs where it is impossible to land with a boat, especially in high seas.
There are only 5000 inhabitants on this Italian outpost Lampedusa, so when the refugees come in such huge numbers, they begin to outnumber the locals. Resources are short. The refugee camp is hidden from view on the far west of the island. Despite the little possibility of quick resettlement on the European mainland, the people come in endless waves.
My work ‘Lampedusa’ is a series of digital drawings imagining how it would be to arrive on the island in a small boat, the dream island in the Mediterranean Sea.