Gesturing Refugees (2018)



The performance intends to archive latent stories of refugeehood using the bodies of refugee artists and the audience as the main archive, while playing with other archive material, testimonies and imagination. The archives will include present, past and even future stories of refugeehood to try and interrogate collective responsibility and find bridges between the past and present of the West. The re-enactment, transformation and deformation of the alternative and personal memories of refugees by refugee artists will allow the re-appropriation of the narrative of refugeehood and develop a collective gestural identity that might challenge that of passive victimhood to which refugees are often subjected. The performance already faced many obstacles related to visa denial to artists and the impossibility of their physical encounter, which added up another formal layer to the performance. 




Concept and choreography: Farah Saleh

In collaboration with the artists: Fadi Waked,

Hamza Damra, Farah Saleh

and Pedro Simoes.

Video: Pedro Vaz Simoes, Shadi Jaber

and Owa Barua. 

Dramaturgy: Luke Pell 


Funded by

Creative Scotland and Cultural Resource 


Supported by

Dance Base 


Avignon Festival in July 2018 (Avignon)

Ifa Gallery in February 2019 (Berlin)               © Maciej Czajka

Grange de Dorigny Theatre in June 2019 (Lausanne)                                  

CCA as part of Refugee Festival Scotland in June 2019 (Glasgow)

Liverpool Arab Arts Festival in July 2019 (Liverpool)

Redzone Festival in October 2019 (Tangier)

Veem House for Performance in December 2020 (Amsterdam)

The Fruitmarket Gallery in April 2022 (Edinburgh)                                                                   



A video documenting the first residency