Ιt was 2011 when Italian photojournalist Max Hirzel first started thinking about the identification of migrant bodies. He was working on a project in Mali when he met a young man named Alpha, who told him about a grave he’d seen in the desert of a girl from his native Cameroon. Alpha wondered if her parents and siblings knew she was there, adding that this scared him more than death itself: the idea of being buried alone in a graveyard where no one could mourn him.

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Hirzel’s photographs will be on show at Sink Without Trace, the first UK exhibition to focus specifically on the more than 30,000 migrants who have drowned in the Mediterranean over the past 30 years. It will feature work from 18 artists from 10 countries, including seven who migrated by sea as refugees. “It’s a subject that’s hardly dealt with in galleries here,” says artist Maya Ramsay, who curated the exhibition with Federica Mazzara, senior lecturer at the University of Westminster. “Part of me wonders whether it’s partly to do with a sense of culpability, that we’re not doing anything about the subject, that we’re partly responsible. It’s a really difficult subject. It’s not easy for anybody – not for the artists or the viewers.” Apart from raising money for rescue charity AlarmPhone, Ramsay hopes “people will be inspired to do something”.

Sink Without Trace will be at P21 gallery, London NW1, from 13 June to 13 July

Read full article on The Guardian.