Posted on February 10, 2013

Urban actions | Being part of the city landscape © migrantas

by migrantas

a visual language of migration

Working with public urban spaces as its platform, migrantas aims to make visible the thoughts and feelings of those who have left their own country and now live in a new one.

Mobility, migration and transculturality are not the exception in our world, but are instead becoming the rule. Nevertheless, migrant women and their experiences remain often invisible to the majority of our society.

Migrantas works with issues of migration, identity and intercultural dialogue. Their work incorporates tools from the visual arts, graphic design and social sciences. Members of the collective, mostly women who have themselves immigrated to Germany, develop the projects with other migrant women in a horizontal dialogue.

Workshops | Visual expression of one’s own story

Migrantas meets with migrant women in their own collective spaces – organisations, community centres, cultural groups – and organizes workshops to reflect together on issues of migration. Women from very different national, cultural and social backgrounds, also with different residency statuses, exchange their experiences and express these in simple drawings.

Process |From drawing to pictogram

After a careful analysis of all the drawings from different workshops, migrantas culls key elements and common themes from the drawings and translates these central motifs visually and artistically into pictograms – a visual language and a language accessible to everyone.

Pictograms | Simplicity and strength of expression

Pictograms are the visual language of migrantas. Their simple, universally understandable images stir emotions: people from different backgrounds recognize themselves in the representations, while others gain new insights or modify their own perspectives.

Result | Recognition and visibility

All migrantas projects end with an exhibition. The participants now see their drawings presented in public and experience public recognition of their voices and social participation. Visitors to the exhibition receive an opportunity to become better acquainted with the experiences of migrant women.

Urban actions | Being a part of the city landscape

One of migrantas’ major goals is to make the pictograms visible in public urban spaces. They appear as posters where there is normally advertising, as projected digital animations on public screens, as flyers or postcards or shopping bags. Migrant womens’ perspectives and lived realities are taken out of the individual private space and made visible in the public space, thus creating an encounter which triggers reactions and self-reflection in the passerby


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