As Far As My Fingertips Take Me is a moving account of displacement
- Lorna Irvine
- 31 May 2018
Tania El Khoury's immersive piece shares performer Basel Zaraa's journey from Damascus to Sweden
A tattoo is permanent: so are tales of lived experience. Created by Tania El Khoury, As Far as My Fingertips Take Me invites a single person at a time to share in performer Basel Zaraa's story of the journey his refugee sisters made from Damascus to Sweden.
This one to one immersive piece is an exercise in trust and intimacy, a shared space with a stranger whose face is never revealed. The audience member hears Zaara's soft-spoken narrative and his song of the struggle faced by refugees on headphones. Zaraa – tenderly and with great precision and care through a hole in the gallery space – gives the listener a temporary tattoo of black ink on left hand and arm, tracing the boat trip across the water, underlined by a line which wraps all the way around the arm.
The figures etched on the flesh are men and women bent over with effort and laden down with belongings in packs.The story speaks of parents not seen in seven years, the lyrics of fear, ostracisation and vulnerability. Every single delicate stroke of the pen's nib carries weight – each figure inked onto skin represents the fight for survival, a symbol of solidarity, and the music is elegiac yet defiant, a beautiful testament to a struggle rewritten each day. And unlike the ink across the forearm, these struggles can never be erased.
Botanic Gardens, Glasgow, run ended. Part of Take Me Somewhere.