A new sculpture depicting the journey of refugees across the Mediterranean is to be unveiled at Spitalfields. ‘Wooden Boat with Seven People,’ by Greek born artist, Kalliopi Lemos will be on public display at Spital Square, London, from February 2017 to February 2018. The latest addition to the Spitalfields’ rolling art programme, this dramatic and large-scale sculpture is intended to stimulate conversation about the area’s rich history while appealing to all ages and backgrounds.
The installation makes direct reference to the successive waves of migrants who have arrived in Spitalfields through the centuries, narrating humanity’s continuing perseverance for survival and dignity. An authentic wooden fishing boat containing seven seated steel human figures, Lemos’ sculpture symbolises the universal struggle and suffering of millions of uprooted migrants around the world. Part of her series, ‘Navigating the Dark’, this boat was used to transport refugees from Turkey to Greece and was acquired by the artist after being abandoned on the Greek shore. Leaning forward in silence, their human forms convey feelings of expectation, vulnerability and resignation – witness to the unending hardships felt in their fight for survival throughout history. By memorialising their transience, Lemos transforms these figures into monuments of dignity representative of the whole of humanity.
‘Wooden Boat with Seven People’ will be unveiled on the 8th of March at Spital square.