We are startled and distressed to see that for the first time since UNITED was founded, our work was attacked at the Liverpool Biennial, where the UNITED List of Refugee Deaths has been on display in its entirety on the hoardings of Great George Street in Liverpool since 12 July 2018.
The List, presented to the public at the Liverpool Biennial in collaboration with Istanbul-based artist Banu Cennetoglu, was torn down in mysterious circumstances in the beginning of August. No cause has yet been determined, and as of 3 August, the incident was not reported to the police. There were early suggestions that it had been mistakenly removed by Liverpool city council, but a council spokesman has since told the Guardian that he was ‘100% sure’ this was not the case.
The work is being reinstalled this week to continue paying tribute to refugees and migrants and draw attention to the fatal migration policies of the European Union.
Update of 16 August:
Following its reinstallation the first instance of destruction, the List was ripped of again from the wall and damaged and targeted multiple times while the vandals remain to be unknown. “The list has never been defaced or damaged in this way before, in any part of the world it has been seen, and there is something immeasurably depressing and shaming that this should happen on its first showing in Britain. It is hard to imagine the failure of compassion that would impel any individual or group to do this, especially as the list is so modest: it asks nothing of passersby other than that it should be seen” notes the Guardian.
UNITED and Banu Cennetoglu together have decided to leave it in this current “state’ as a manifestation and reminder of this systematic violence exercised against people.
Image (top): Mark McNulty; Image (right): Liverpool Biennial; Image (bottom): Banu Cennetoglu