Very Invisible People
As a daughter of refugees who fled Europe after WWII, for Batia Shani, the current migrants and refugee crisis echoes an existential situation which is engraved in her body and soul.
the centerpiece of the installation is embroidered bundles made of scraps of used clothes which carry the memory of the body who used to wear them, stacked in a wooden structure that resembles a boat. The image of a boat is a very loaded one, as it contains the memory of the journey Shani’s parents made after WWII from Europe to Palestine.
Parts of metal fence serve as the basis for a wall piece. The metal is covered by another layer in the shape of an archetypical house made of cardboard, like a mark of a house, on which the artist places unwoven children’s vests. These vests were originally knitted to wrap and protect children, to keep them warm. But something went wrong –unwoven and damaged, they can no longer serve their purpose. The mixture of materials that juxtaposes the cold, metallic material with the soft and warm wool, separated by the cardboard, creates a system of opposites.
The third main piece is a readymade fridge cardboard box that the artist found near her studio around the time that the bodies of 39 Vietnamese were found in the trailer of a refrigerator lorry in the UK. In addition to pasting newspapers clippings and embroidered envelopes, Shani perforates the cardboard around the caption NO FROST and threads are coming out of the holes.