A Way Out

Photography, User Research, Digital Art


In 2011, I spent a semester in Morocco on SIT’s Migration and Transnational Identity program. The program focused on the culture of migration that has been prevalent in the country since the end of WWII. It gave us access to professionals in every aspect of migration - what it does to the youth who expect to leave, how laws and the government have been affected by this mass exodus, how this affects relations with the rest of the region and Europe, and more. What most interested me was the stories of the migrants and how their migration isolated them from their families and friends who could not understand their experiences. Based on this interest, I conducted independent research with three migrants from varied backgrounds. 

From these interviews, I created visual narrative for each migrant to tell their story. The pieces are a push against the massive numbers often focused on in the academic writing and instead make often overlooked human aspect of migration front and center.

The following is one of the three visual narratives along with information about the migrant:

Joa is an Nigerian musician who used Morocco as an illegal gateway to Spain. Joe remained in Spain for 6 months before he was deported back to Nigeria. He had given up everything, including his wife, daughters and steady income as a trumpet player, to try to migrate. When I spoke with him, he was living in Morocco again, attempting the same route back to Europe. Joe did not tell his story in a linear fashion. Instead, facts slowly emerged as I questioned him on his journey and situation, often changing as the story proceeded on. Consistent throughout his story was his feeling of isolation in Morocco due to his religion and language, and his immense faith that any day now one of his cell phones would ring with good news.