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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

Becoming British Scratch - Migration Matters Festival, Sheffield

I was expecting a good show from my dear friend Lora Krasteva, but I was blown away by her 'Becoming British Scratch' performance as part of Migration Matters Festival in Sheffield. I am honestly so proud that the festival - a celebration of migrants and their contribution to our culture - happens in my city. I am also so proud of my incredible friend for creating this powerful and important work!

I first met Lora in 2021, through the now defunct Sheffield Creative Guild, when she was looking for R&D participants for her 'Becoming British' project and it's been incredible to watch the development and progression of the project since then. This durational performance featured five different migrant artists working at different stations across the space which they rotated around. The stations included; counting baked beans, blind-folded flag painting, a pile of British Earth, a desk laden with books on the topic of nationalism/colonialism/etc. and tea-making - it was all very British.

The room was dimly lit with spotlights and the audio - either pre-recorded sound art or a direct broadcast from the artists - was incredibly atmospheric. The audio broached topics relating to migration, including; visas, citizenship, refugees, the governent and the monarchy.

I was particularly fascinated by the flag-painting, given my interest in the "power and poltiics" of flags. I loved the fact that it was done blindfolded with their fingers, rather than a paint brush - a metaphor for blindly supporting Nationalist sentiment. Starting with the red paint, projected the imagery of "blood on our hands". I particularly liked how the absorbant cloth leaved a residue of the Union-Jack design onto the carpet below - a stain on our conscience.

My favourite part of the exhibition, however, was the melting vienetta cake with a picture of King Charles sticking out of it.

I stayed for an hour and a half but I didn't hang around for the whole six hours of the performance- only because I am still quite unwell and my coughing was disrupting the performance as well as having a permanent back ache.


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