An Artangel interaction project
Staying: Dream, Bin, Soft Stud and Other Stories was inspired by the lengthy administrative procedures that require gay asylum seekers to prove their sexual identity and often, their new western gay lifestyle. Ashery worked with the women, developing fictional characters and alter egos that channelled their ideas, stories and traumas into different types of narratives. In contrast to legal demands for complete accuracy, accountability and clarity in their applications to stay. The texts produced in this publication were later used productively in court cases.
A character transforms her life stories into the rooms of a house; another becomes a bin; others become a dream, a soft stud, a super lover and a gun who transforms into a camera… These characters were created by twelve lesbian asylum seekers and refugees who fled Nigeria, Uganda, Angola, Gambia, Jamaica, Barbados and other countries after suffering traumatising discrimination against their sexual identity and orientation. The project addresses issues that are frequently concealed, ignored or invisible. Ashery has worked with discussions, monologues, interviews, handwriting, images, portraits, doodles and other material during a series of intimate and emotionally raw workshops with the women, to form this publication. A deck of twelve tarot-style cards, featuring each of the women’s characters, and a dynamic, moving and richly crafted booklet of essays, including:
‘Staying Now and Later’ by Oreet Ashery
‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People and Persecution Experiences of LGBT People and the UK Asylum System’ by Jill Power
‘Reflections on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Asylum/ Human Rights Applications Some Thoughts From an Immigration Solicitor’s Point of View’ by Catherine Robinson
‘Better Than Therapy Alter Ego Performance and Being-Togetherness’ by Julia Austin