Julian Emanuel Gerada

Degree Show 2023

Julian Emanuel Gerada

BA Art and Design

Diaspora is a project which integrates ancient storytelling methods with trending social media platforms (modern-day storytelling devices). It commemorates 3 separate narratives, based around the migration (diaspora) of a series of individuals (whom I have known personally) to and from Gibraltar in the 20th century. Through this, the pieces comment on society’s disregard for the elderly, encouraging the viewer to question their love for social media over antique/classical culture.

Traditional totem poles recount Native American legends through symbolic icons, usually in the form of animals, arranged in chronological fashion (top to bottom). I have intended to mimic this by drawing links between the biographical stories of these individuals and tales in mythology, specifically those from Greek, Egyptian and Viking lore. This is also a link to traditional Romantic poetry, such as that of John Keats, which makes reference to mythology as a means of learning from our mistakes.

Native American culture has also been subject to disregard and stereotype for centuries, as displayed by Marlon Brando’s rejection of his Oscar in 1973. Through individual stories connected to evacuation and geographical presence, this project sheds light on undervalued communities, cultures and individuals at a time of uncontrolled global expansion, where areas such as Gibraltar are slowly becoming modern concrete jungles.

Viewers are therefore invited to view 3 totem poles depicting these 3 narratives. The totem poles have been elevated for a conspicuous presence within the 3D Studio, a commentary on the lack of representation for these individuals today. As they have been placed in front of windows, viewers are encouraged to wait for the sunset, which will make the pieces even more menacing over time.

Each pole is accompanied by 3 QR codes, leading to Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest accounts: these integrate ancient or undervalued storytelling methods into the social media experience.

Three volumes of Wikipedia pages have also been provided to give external information and analysis of these poles, granting the viewer a foundation of knowledge so that these pieces do not feel too cryptic. They also criticize a lack of engagement with physical encyclopedias today..

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Each totem pole has been constructed from disregarded materials, such as recycled cardboard and foam. By assembling objects of junk into sculptures and placing them in the limelight of an exhibition space, the pieces encourage an increased awareness for the unheard stories of the elderly.

Madeira tells the story of a German Shepherd with the ability to sense incoming planes, and the subsequent evacuation of two individuals from Gibraltar to Madeira.

Ballymena reflects on the death of a boy’s father at sea before he is born, and his latter evacuation to an Irish camp.

San Roque recounts a girl’s loss of her father at a young age, and the relocation of her family to her Uncle’s farm in Spain.

@madeira_stele is only one example of a series of social media pages designed to tell the stories of these totem poles, specifically through ancient storytelling methods. In this case, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics have been used to tell this tale.