SOAS University of London

SOAS exhibition uses medium of comics and augmented reality to bring story of migrants to life

4 April 2017

PositiveNegatives in partnership with SOAS University of London will be hosting an exhibition at SOAS’s Brunei Gallery which examines the perils of migration through the medium of comics.

A Perilous Journey is an exhibition drawing upon a selection of rich ethnographic portfolio around refugee migration stories. Concentrating on contemporary real-life stories from Syria and Iraq, the display follows two men and two women on their long difficult journeys fleeing conflict and persecution.

The exhibition will use augmented reality to bring the stories of the people in the comics to life. Visitors will be able to download the “Arc Stories” app and hear and experience the stories of the main characters through their mobile phones or iPads.

This will be the first time artwork by PositiveNegatives has been displayed on large canvases.  The exhibition will be open to the public at the Brunei Gallery from 21 April – 24 June 2017.

PositiveNegatives at SOAS Khalid

The exhibit includes Khalid’s, Hasko’sand Dana’s Stories detailing three separate harrowing journeys across Europe to reach safety from the conflict in Syria. It also tells Nadia’s Story, which describes a pregnant Yazidi mother’s flight, fleeing ISIS controlled Iraq with her two young children.

The literary comics explore the vulnerabilities and dangers men and women face while making journeys to escape persecution. These vulnerabilities increase particularly with women travelling alone with young children, putting them at escalated risk of gender based violence.

The exhibition is also linked to Why Comics? An education charity that brings issues such as racism, conflict, trafficking and climate change into the classroom. The charity, which is based at SOAS, is a part of PositiveNegatives  which has been producing literary comics about contemporary social and human rights issues for over four years. They combine ethnographic research with illustration and photography, adapting personal testimonies into art, advocacy and education materials.

PositiveNegatives at SOAS Nadia's story

PositiveNegatives was founded by SOAS alumnus and Senior Fellow Dr Benjamin Dix. PositiveNegatives has worked extensively with a range of organisations such as The Guardian, Open Society Foundations (OSF), BBC, The Nobel Peace Centre, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the United Nations (UN), and with leading academic institutions such as; Harvard South Asia Centre, SOAS  and University of Sussex.