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This Artist Uses Immigration Paperwork as Her Canvas

Merve Iseri's streaks of paint inject humanity into the coldly black and white paperwork.
All images courtesy of Tom's Etching Studio 

Immigration is currently one of the hottest political topics all around the world, and while we hear stories of the turmoil and anguish that it often involves, one aspect of the immigration process is usually neglected: the paperwork. Artist Merve Iseri is based in London but was born in Istanbul, and she uses immigration paperwork as her canvas in My Immigration Papers, which will be displayed at Tom’s Etching Studio, a printmaking studio and exhibition space.


''When I came to London I found myself looking at all these papers to be able to have a right to live and work. There were so many questions to identify who am I and if I fit in the right conditions. In every page I felt I had to prove something,” says Iseri.  "My Immigration Papers was an approach to such bureaucracy. Meanwhile the immigration crisis has been going on, it made me question the ownership of the land and ability to cross borders."

The splashes of color that Iseri streaks across her works act as a humanizing element in the face of coldly black and white paperwork. It’s a visual reminder that while immigration on a macro level deals with borders, offices, and bureaucracy, it is an essentially human act, and the people undertaking it are just that—humans.

My Immigration Papers will run at Tom's Etching Studio from February 19th to 21st. To learn more about Merve Iseri’s work, click here.


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