We've Come a Long Way to be Together

We’ve Come a Long Way to be Together is a series of portraits of travellers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East painted on top of the pages of a cut-out and reassembled 1st ed. copy of Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian Sands. Wilfred Thesiger was an English explorer and travel writer (1910 -2003). Arabian Sands, published in 1959 recounts his travels in the Empty Quarter of Arabia, (Rub'Al Khali) between 1945 and1950.

 

His photographic archive was donated to the Pitt River’s Museum which included 38,000 negatives and 71 personal albums of photographs of his travel.The website of Pitt River’s Museum describes Thesiger as “probably the greatest traveller of the twentieth century, and one of its greatest explorers.” Arabian Sands is considered a classic of travel writing.

 

The portraits aim at disrupting conventional ways of seeing through visual code-switching,substituting the

iconographies of travel associated with European subjectivities for non-Europeans. The portraits aim to problematize how we see travel and highlight the highly ideological, polemical representations associated with refugees and migration contrasted against European exploration and tourism, with the former pathologized, criminalized and feared and the latter romanticised and heroic.The photographic images are derived from the Tropen Museum’s photo archive.