Expat vs migrant – Talking about identity

 

During last October I visited an exhibition, presented within a project of “Open Source Government” called “Ideology Meets Implementation”. In this context I took part in an interactive artwork created by Pendar Nabipour, an Iranian artist, living and working in the Netherlands. As presented in the attached picture, visitors were asked, at the entrance, to choose between acceding the place as either expats or migrants. Instinctively I’ve chosen the “expat” gate, without questioning my choice. Later on, while talking with the artist, I understood that the big majority of visitors emphatically identified themselves with the migrants. The experience made me feel uncomfortable and it stirred an inner debate. Why did I so confidently choose the expat identity? After some deliberate reflection,  I began to understand why.

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see you soon, goodbyes, farewell, hello, story

See you soon “J”!

A story about goodbyes

 

 

When you live abroad, far from your parents and your childhood friends, you gradually learn how to leave behind someone dear. When you become an expat and people are coming and going in and out of your life, saying “farewell” becomes a constant. In time, a permanent feeling of longing  for someone becomes part of you and, because of it, you come to acknowledge any emotions gravitating towards leave-taking situations.

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