Tanya Houghton on her work and the festival

Posted on 29 Oct 2016
As an artist I am interested in the stories and mythologies of the everyday. We have a habit of looking to foreign lands for the exotic to inspire us, in doing so we miss the wealth of information within the everyday. Our daily routines and rituals become mundane and habitual to us which is why festivals like UrbanPhotoFest are so important.
 
UrbanPhotoFest is so unique in the way that it brings practitioners together from all over the world; artists, photographers, academics. All who share a common ground for an interdisciplinary approach, to exploring and understanding “urban space”, working together to highlight the wealth of knowledge in the everyday details of life.  It really is such an honour to have been asked to be the festival artist for such a progressive photo festival, exhibiting alongside other such established artists within the Urban Photo Village.
 
UrbanPhotoFest has been wonderful in accommodating me to explore and deliver the concepts for my work across multiple platforms. It was important for me not only to exhibit The Migrant’s Tale to date, but to be able to produce a new piece during the festival to include within the body of work. This will take form in a curated lunch during which my guest and I will discuss and unpick the contemporary representation of home.
 
The idea for A Migrant’s Tale was shaped back in early 2015. We were being inundated by images in the British press of the Refugee crisis; Images of people displaced, Images of people pushed into forced migration due to civil war. These people had lost everything. The images circulating of these people showed them at their most vulnerable in desperate times. Our perception of immigration was been skewed by the media, language used to define the movement of people had been exploited; immigrant, migrant, refugee. Our ability to differentiate and the acceptance of those that have chosen migration, versus those that have been forced into migration had become too great.
 
I wanted to produce a body of work that shows migration in a positive light, that humanizes t again, work that shows the similarities between us and highlights the memories of home that we all create and share, whether we have migrated globally or locally. I wanted to do this through a common language that we all understand and that common language was food. Urban Photo Fest has given me the platform to put this work out there in the public domain, allowing me to open up a discussion on the contemporary representation of migrant’s and how the collective image of home is currently being shaped.

© Tanya Houghton