In Humanity: borders, detention, human rights

In Humanity art installation and exhibition

In Humanity art installation and exhibition
1st – 23rd February 2020
at People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, Manchester  M3 3ER

by Kooj Chuhan @ 2pm on Saturday 1st Feb.

In Humanity asks how far do we treat people needing refuge in humanity and with care?  The UK is the only place in Europe with no time limit on detention.  Nearly 30,000 people are locked up each year most of whom are eventually released, this is a shameful civil rights abuse that cannot be ignored.

By artist and film-maker Kooj Chuhan in collaboration with These Walls Must Fall and Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, including soundtrack fragments by musician and composer Tagné Tebu.  In Humanity is part of the Declaration project by Metaceptive. 

Process, components, perspectives

No Kids In Cages portable installation (USA)

Over six weeks Kooj worked with members of These Walls Must Fall, a campaign against immigration detention . Their own experiences of the detention system as well as ideas and knowledge from research and campaign resources fed into the creative process.  One inspiration came from the cage and body installations in public places created by the No Kids In Cages campaign (USA) against the separating and locking up of children from their families.

The main In Humanity installation room combines spoken readings, video screens, steel fencing, embroidery, and a huddled up body.  As Kooj explains, “I wanted to merge authentic human emotion and personal reality with the wider social and political contexts that frame our destiny.”

Committed To Represent

The accompanying display wall presents a parallel set of posters originally created by Kooj for Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit titled ‘Committed To Represent‘. An exhibition of photography and texts originally created as a series of large A1 size portable panels, twelve in all.  This is currently exhibited in a semi-permanent home at Garden Court Chambers in Manchester.

How does the legal work of the GMIAU (Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit) help refugees to rebuild their lives?  What motivates the caseworkers? How do refugees respond to the challenges that the asylum system throws at them? This exhibition is a celebration of the work that caseworkers do and a testament to the courage of refugees and people seeking asylum.

Committed To Represent exhibition at Z-arts, 2013:

The full scale exhibition is available for borrowing or hire,  and a speaker can be provided if desired.  More information and images of the full scale work exhibited in various locations can be found at

In Humanity and The Declaration Project

In Humanity exhibition links to the Viva Declaration! performance

The Declaration project is led by the current Viva Declaration! performance by Tagné+Kooj which will be premiered at People’s History Museum on Saturday 22nd February 2020 from 2pm.  This is a performance of global-jazz music and live-mixed video about migration and borders. By using poetic visuals and documentary sequences against a musical landscape it connects migration with colonial history, economics, political and environmental conflicts, human rights, contemporary protest and campaigns for migration justice.

The project emerged from decades of work around migration and related issues by Kooj Chuhan who has maintained grass roots connections while also gaining awards and being exhibited internationally.  The critical questions and vivid emotions raised by Viva Declaration! have never been so relevant than here and right now in post-Brexit UK.  The In Humanity installation was originally created to accompany the Viva Declaration performance at People’s History Museum, to enrich the connections with and understanding of the issues for audiences.

More details at .

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