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NAVIS

Navis is a performance art piece that encapsulates the metaphor of a ship as a transformative vessel. It represents the journey of individuals seeking change, be it through migration, resettlement, or the pursuit of a fresh start. The ship serves as a symbolic ‘reset button,’ offering passengers a chance to redefine their identities and destinies.

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Desire Exhibition, RCA (2024)
Photos: James Merrell

Symbolism

The ship stands as a beacon of hope and escape, a place where the past can be washed away by the waves of the sea. It is a microcosm of society, where each person’s story converges into a collective narrative of hope and rebirth. The performance draws parallels to Noah’s Ark, invoking the biblical tale of survival and divine promise of a new beginning. Just as the Ark was a refuge from the deluge, the ship in this piece shelters individuals from the storms of life, carrying them towards a promised land of opportunity and second chances.

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Desire Exhibition, RCA (2024)
Photo: James Merrell

Otherness

The performance also examines the concept of 'otherness,' exploring the dichotomy between the welcomed and the unwelcome. The aim here is to challenge the binary representation of Noah's Ark, where pairs were chosen to survive, leaving behind the 'others' to face the deluge. 

The ship becomes a floating microworld where 'otherness' is both a burden and a badge of honour. It symbolises the struggle of those who are often seen as outsiders in their quest for acceptance and belonging. The performance questions the societal norms that label migrants and refugees as 'others,'  unwelcome in lands they seek as sanctuaries.

 

This presents an urgency to disrupt, challenge and question the structures in place. The aim for Navis is to explore, investigate and present new possibilities. Hence, the interest in the concept of ‘otherness,’ and how to assert otherness to occupy spaces for representation, visibility and owning one’s voice, in the eclectic world. 

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Desire Exhibition, RCA (2024)
Photo: James Merrell

Navis is a poignant reminder that the world cannot truly reset if it only welcomes binary representatives. It is a call to embrace the ‘other,’ to recognise that every individual, regardless of their origin or status, carries the potential to contribute to the tapestry of a renewed society. The performance is a celebration of diversity, a testament to the power of unity in diversity, and a hopeful vision of a world where every ‘other’ finds their place in the ark of humanity.

 

Screenshot 2024-04-07 at 19.51_edited.jp
Desire Exhibition, RCA (2024)
Photo: James Merrell
Desire Exhibition (2024),Royal College of Art
video: James Merrell
Length: 5mins 43secs 
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