Deportation Prison Laayoune
Artist/Author: Ursula Biemann
The over-crowded deportation centre in a former colonial prison in Laayoune, Western Sahara, offers a sight that propels you back two hundred years into the somber past. Close your eyes and you can hear the chains jangle. The main light source is a barred skylight, a mere open hole in the roof from where a harsh light cuts through the sweaty gloom making every mosquito and every grain of dust dance in front of your eyes. Slowly getting used to the scene you see starvation, weakness, disease and sun scorched eyes, none of it matters when the goal is in sight, but excruciating to bear when hope has slid away. The only traces left behind on their trajectory are the fragile architectures they had built in the remote desert dunes during the days and weeks of holding out while water stocks were running out.