The Illusion of Return

research, residency and commissioning project

‘The Illusion of Return’ is a research, residency and commissioning project dealing with the subjects of migration, home and belonging through individual stories of participating artists. At the core of this project is an attempt to reverse the process of immigration and ask artists who decided to live in the UK to “go back home” and make a new project in relation to the journey they’ve made. Artists take part in a process-orientated residency in their home country. Residencies take them deeper into their own environment, cities and towns and are designed to stimulate a reinterpretation of their cultural legacy. The project encourages artists and audiences to reflect upon their own personal story of migration and to reconsider the idea of a home that is, for most of us, connected with a great many emotions, dreams and illusions.

The questions we ask include: To what extent are identity and belonging related to birthplace? What makes a person identify with a specific culture or country? How do experiences of migration complicate these questions?

‘The Illusion of Return’ aims to challenge our common ideas about migration, national identity and a collective sense of belonging. While family, ancestry and birthplace are often vital to our sense of who we are, this project examines how they relate to identity in a more complex way. The project also promotes integration, diversity, and tolerance, that were recently challenged by the post-Brexit political landscape.

The outcomes will be included in an exhibition and live events accompanied by dedicated artist-led outreach and education programme including series of conversations pairing artists and public intellectuals to address critical topics related to identity and migration, symposiums as well as workshops with community groups.

Artists: Ania Dąbrowska, Alicja Rogalska, Joanna Rajkowska, Katarzyna Perlak

Curated by Katarzyna Sobucka

Partners: Art Transparent, Wrocław

Katarzyna Perlak, Niolam Ja Se Kochaneczke, 2016, Video still


Supported by The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Scholarship Program.