“The South African artist appeals to her transnational condition – the difference between the South of Spain and the North of Morocco can be as worrying as that which exists between the two poles of the African continent itself- in the video Home and Away: a lyrical flight above the waves facing the coasts of Tarifa”
Iván de la Torre, Blanco y Negro Cultural
“The human being’s identity, his reality and the many other factors involved (…) in the existential journey are some of the issues raised by the work of Berni Searle”.
HOME AND AWAY – 2003
Despite the real circumstances of migration and identity on which this video performance is based, Berni Searle did not want to do a piece which “illustrates” these questions, but instead to create a lyric interpretation of a place, a space and some specific yet at the same time mutating identities.
Located somewhere along the Straits of Gibraltar, between Tarifa and Tanger, the artist filmed herself floating in the water, alone, between these two shores which are shown by the camera from time to time. The sense of distance and instability is tangible.
Europe is seen as the ideal destination to start a new life, and Africa as a home abandoned. “Home and Away” suggests a feeling of homelessness, nostalgia and transience”. This feeling is seen to be reinforced by the sounds of the sea and a boat’s motor as the only companions on a journey with an uncertain end. At the same time, the voice-over of an artist reciting verbs in English reminds us of the immigrant’s difficult situation, starting from square one and adapting to a new country, new customs and also a new language.