ACKERMANS & VAN HAAREN
Citizenship (Protect your loved ones) (2017) by Sven ‘t Jolle (1966, Antwerp) is a critique against Australia’s immigration policy on the one hand, and ‘Fortress Europe’ on the other. In the context of FINIS TERRAE, the work illustrates some of the (literal) boundaries in our contemporary society: a safe world, reserved for the happy few. The work consists of two rows of wired fences. The first one reminds of a pool fence designed to preventing child drowning (now obligatory in various countries). The other one refers to security fencing surrounding detention centers for refugees.
The work highlights the strict migration policy of Australia: boat ‘turnbacks’ on the one hand, and subject people without papers to offshore processing in the Republic of Nauru, or on Manus Island. In addition, the work refers to the borders of the European Union. The piece reflects on the bitter irony of a state that introduces legislation to protect children from drowning but at the same time has an inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers (of whom many are children as well). The inflatable raft floating in the paddling pool, an abandoned toy, is a sad reminder of the many migrant deaths caused by crossing the Pacific and, closer to home, the Mediterranean Sea.