in News | 02 AUG 18

List of Thousands of Dead Refugees Destroyed in Liverpool

It’s not clear who destroyed the project – part of the Liverpool Biennial – which names those who have died trying to seek refuge in Europe

in News | 02 AUG 18

The List of 34,361 documented deaths of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have lost their lives within or on the borders of Europe since 1993. Documentation as of 5 May 2018 by UNITED for Intercultural Action. Facilitated by Banu Cennetoğlu. Presented at Great George Street, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Courtesy: Liverpool Biennial; photograph: Mark McNulty

The List, a project which details the thousands who have lost their lives while trying to seek refuge in Europe from 1993 to the present day, has been removed from where it was publically installed as part of the Liverpool Biennial. The project, naming 34,361 dead asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, was presented as a series of posters pasted up on hoardings along the city’s Great George Street. It is not clear who destroyed it.

On Twitter, the biennial appealed for witnesses. ‘We were startled to see the majority of The List removed from Great George Street this Sunday. Did you or anyone you know see something? Do you know why it has been removed?’ the exhibition tweeted. Some respondents mentioned they had seen people wearing suits tearing down the piece the previous week. Meanwhile, despite speculation on social media, a council spokesperson told The Guardian that he was ‘100% sure’ the project had not been removed by local authorities.

In a statement sent to frieze, Sally Tallant, director of the Liverpool Biennial, commented: ‘It is timely and important to make The List public during a global refugee crisis. We were dismayed to see it had been removed on Saturday night and would like to know why. The List has been met with critical acclaim and we are doing everything we can to re-instate it, once we better understand why it has been removed.’

Turkish artist Banu Cennetoğlu has been facilitating the distribution of The List since 2007 – its latest incarnation has been produced in collaboration with London’s Chisenhale Gallery and Liverpool Biennial. The List is itself compiled by European NGO network UNITED for Intercultural Action. Cennetoğlu does not consider it an artwork, but has tasked herself with distributing it in various public spaces – it was printed as a supplement in The Guardian earlier this year, on World Refugee Day (20 June).

The List offers ‘a challenge to the ways in which we consume and forget the world today, in which the deaths of refugees, or the banalities of our private lives, become commodities jostling for attention on social media feeds,’ our recent review of Cennetoğlu’s exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery in London argued.