797. Upfest 2016 (128)

This piece was one of the most mysterious and┬ámoving of the whole festival. It depicts, in a stained glass window style, a mother and child wrapped in a blanket. On first glance it looks like a Virgin Mary and Jesus depiction, and the mother has a halo effect around her head. Look closer and for a little longer and the horror of the image becomes clear. This is a contemporary study of the terrible refugee crisis of people from many of the world’s most troubled regions desperately crossing the Mediterranean Sea to get to mainland Europe.

Unknown artist, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016
Unknown artist, Upfest, Bristol, July 2016

The child is not dressed in swaddling clothes as one so young should be, but strapped into a life jacket and the pair of them are enveloped in a silver sheet to keep them warm. This is both distressing and compelling, and pretty much my favourite piece of the whole festival. One big hitch…The picture was not there on the second day, and I never got to find out who it was by. I scoured the Interweb but drew a blank. If anyone might know, I’d love to find out. I am still really moved by this piece. Brilliant. Bravo.