NO PROMISED LAND
VENETO REGION, ITALY
2016 / 2017
Witness Journal #88
We are used to see images of migrants in the media. They all look quite the same and, moreover, migrants are treated barely more than numbers. By refusing the common frames based on pain and misery, this work aims to give voice to the stories and the faces behind those numbers. The objective was to narrate the ignored reality about refugees, which is very different from what we are accustomed to see.
A region, seven provinces and more than twenty structures, together model the heterogeneous complexity of the unseen "reception system" for migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in an important area of Northern Italy. Beyond the numbers, this work embodies a research through stories and places, different among them but often very similar.
The expression "structures" is applied here as generic term, consciously gathering a broad set of housing and life situations sometimes at the antipodes. In order to be exhaustive, the work started exploring cases where reception had failed or had never happened at all, moving then to ordinary reception finishing up with social housing cases, which are an important step towards future integration. The separation from the society is still evident, although there are some signs of hope for the future. We cannot talk about immigration policies and integration without an active role played by the local society. The relationship must be a two-way dialogue, to finally get that place called home someday.