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Poland to Scotland

    Diana Forster’s artwork ‘Somewhere to Stay’ traces the long journey of forced migration taken by her mother and thousands of other refugees during the Second World War, from Poland to Siberia, to Uzbekistan, to Iran, to Tanzania and finally to the UK. You can read more about their long journey and see a map here.

    Through a sequence of ten laser-cut aluminium panels, Forster has evoked home life before deportation, and she has also depicted the different forms of shelter where people like her mother stayed at various staging posts along the way. Their journey took several years, crossed many borders, and took a great toll on everyone who survived it. ‘Somewhere to Stay’ invites viewers to walk in these refugees’ footsteps, to imagine the many challenges they faced along the way, and to consider what it is like for anyone who has to flee their home and travel thousands of miles to find somewhere safe to stay. In the video below, we explain the project in more detail.

    Image and video credits: Ed Broughton, 2023

    Click on the separate links here for more information about each panel. Below you can see how the panels work together as a storytelling journey, capturing multiple displacements en route from Poland to Scotland. The sequence’s tenth panel pays tribute to all those refugees who died on the journey, before finding a place they could call home.

    We have exhibited ‘Somewhere to Stay’ in both indoor and outdoor locations. The journey of the sun, the moving shadows and the changing weather conditions in our outdoor location add an additional layer of meaning to the art work. As one refugee who visited explained, he experienced all kinds of weather on his own journey of forced migration; so he felt that it was fitting to be able to visualise this story of displacement in both good and bad weather conditions.

    Such a long journey…

    Diana Forster, 2022

    Image credits: Ed Broughton