School of Arts

BA Fine Art graduate awarded prize at Art Week, Free Range 2019

Monday, 09 September 2019

Vaken

Recent BA Fine Art graduate Christoph Jones has been awarded the Individual Art Prize at this year’s Free Range exhibition.

Christoph was awarded the prize for his multimedia installation piece ‘Vaken’ which responds to experiences of refugees and explores ways in which Europe has responded to the crisis. As part of the prize, Christoph will receive mentorship from the prize’s judges, a bursary from Free Range and the opportunity to exhibit his work in a solo show at the Truman Brewery in London. 

The piece takes its name from the Home Office’s 2013 pilot campaign ‘Operation Vaken’ which is widely known for the controversial ‘Go Home’ vans. Through his work, Christoph looks to draw attention to hostile approaches taken by the European Union and the UK government towards migration, focusing particularly on Operation Vaken as well as the notion of Fortress Europe. 

Here Christoph tells us about the installation and the elements that comprise it.

"I built a refugee shelter according to UNHCR guidelines to show the visitors the reality of life for a refugee. Inside the shelter hung six mirrors, each engraved with the written testimony of 16-year-old Syrian refugee Muhammad Najem, whom I have collaborated with. The second element was formed of a video of Muhammad telling his story in his own words, with his own voice, in his own language - the sound filling the exhibition space. The final installation element consists of a desk made from the same material as the shelter, upon which there was a typewriter and rolls of stickers which read "Hello My Name is..". This formed the basis of a performance which consisted of me standing at the desk typing out the name, number, date of death and cause of death of each one of the 34,361 refugees who have attempted to seek asylum in the EU. This element of the work later developed into the @refugee_list project which consists of the stickers being published on Instagram and Twitter. I will be posting one sticker an hour for over four years until the project is complete." 

The prize will help Christoph to develop his work further and as part of the award, Christoph will exhibit his work in a solo exhibition at the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London in February 2020. Speaking of the upcoming exhibition, Christoph said “I want to take the concepts that made the work impactful and successful and develop it further, to amplify the voices even louder and make the impact even harder and unignorable”.


To find out more about Christoph’s work, visit his website and follow @refugee_list on Twitter.