Towards a Promised Land, Margate, England
Towards a Promised Land is a project commission by the London-based international arts organization Artangel as the prologue to a promenade performance and film project by Penny Woolcock entitled The Margate Exodus. Wendy Ewald worked with twenty-two children who migrated to the British seaside town of Margate from near and far. Some of these children have fled countries afflicted by war, poverty or political strife; others have been affected by the simple facts of domestic upheaval from one town to another. With Ewald, they have learned to explore their imaginations and express their different experiences of displacement and relocation in the search for a better life.
Over an eighteen month period Ewald photographed the children and interviewed them about their past and present lives, and them how to take their own photographs. This collaboration captured the children at critical turning points in their lives. Ewald’s photographic portraits of the children have appeared as huge iconic banners in various locations around Margate, including along the historic Sea Wall; the children’s own projects and photographs formed an exhibition at a local Margate gallery. Towards a Promised Land, supported by Small Voice Foundation, touches some of the most salient issues confronting contemporary society today in the form of the displaced human being and his/her effect on the concept of nationhood. These issues are further explored in an innovatively conceived publication. Edited by Louise Neri, this “book of fragments” brings together Ewald’s case studies, the children’s own materials, and a host of interviews, writings and commentaries by prominent writers and artists on the contemporary search for a sense of place in a world of constant and turbulent change.
To read about the book Towards a Promised Land click here:
Wendy Ewald began collaborating with youth in 1969 when she was seventeen years old. The first community she worked with was a group of Innu youth in Labrador, Canada. Now, nearly forty years later, she has returned to Labrador to both look back at the work and create a new series with the community living there today.
To hear an interview with Wendy about her work in Labrador click on this link and scroll down to the September 15th interview archive:
To view Wendy’s Labrador pictures from 1969 click here: