refugees run the seas... (2014-15). Rectified readymade, public art project. Billboard, postcard; dimensions variable. Created with the technical support of Kurt Kraler and Manolo Lugo.

A blue colour field captioned with the last line of Wyclef Jean’s rap in Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie.

'refugees run the seas...' is a billboard project that draws and diverts from pop culture as a way to invite the viewer to imagine an incalculable future where justice for migrants exists. The work consists of a blue colour field captioned with the phrase ‘refugees run the seas cause we own our own votes.’ The text plays with the last line from Wyclef Jean's rap in Shakira's 2006 song Hips Don't Lie. Shifting “boats” into “votes” as if misheard or mispronounced, the work simultaneously evokes painful past and present scenes of harrowing escape while allowing the possibility of a time to come when those seeking refuge will make their voices count. The blue that frames the text comes from a photograph of the sky above the billboard taken during the day. 

'refugees run the seas…' inverts the logic dominance that keeps migrant bodies beyond the lines of social mobility. Territory turns to ocean, day turns into night, and displaced bodies turn into agents of movement, rather than victims. The notion of movement is also found in the trace of the phrase's original context, which alludes to sensuality and opens up the work to potential queer readings.

Exhibition History:
Htous / Htron: The New Coordinates for America – Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Toronto. Curated by Agustín Pérez Rubio.

Migrations and Movement: Close Together – Voices Breaking Boundaries, Houston, USA
Queering the International, Queer Arts Festival, Vancouver, 2014. Curated by Laiwan.