Kite made from a road map

Kite made from a road map showing northern France and south-east England (by Collins), electrical tape, and emergency blanket. Made in the Calais camp known as The Jungle in March 2016 as part of a session facilitated by Art Refuge UK, an art and art therapy organisation which has been working with refugees in Calais since 2015.

Making use of the limited infrastructure of the camp, Art Refuge UK started to facilitate kite making begun by Afghan residents of the camp. As an activity, kite making gave opportunities for play and creativity, problem-solving and working together, in a context where people's traumatic experiences, both past and present, can lead to an acute sense of psychological unsafety. In March 2016, as the southern part of the camp was destroyed, maps were used to make kites. This was both pragmatic and symbolic. Pragmatic, because the maps were readily available - pages from road atlases provided large sheets of robust paper which could withstand the Calais wind. Symbolic, because in a context when people’s movement across borders is prevented, kites can become a symbol of hope (one can still go up, even if not across). Made from maps, primary expressions of political borders, the kites were also a symbol of resistance to contemporary border regimes.

Further reading:
B. Lloyd, N. Press and M. Usiskin 'The Calais Winds took our plans away: Art therapy as shelter' Journal of Applied Arts & Health, 9:2 (2018): 171-184.
D. Kalmanowitz and B. Lloyd 'Art therapy at the border: Holding the line of the kite' Journal of Applied Arts & Health, 7:2 (2016): 143-158.

Object Details

ID: ZBA8787
Type: Kite
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Collins; UK, Art Refuge Usiskin, Miriam
Date made: 2016
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Acquired with Art Fund support.
Measurements: 440mm x 265mm x 3mm

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