I’M MIGRATION

OIL ON CANVAS, 1999

Implicit in the outward forms of migrant birds and animals are travellers’ tales of flights and treks, of arrivals, departures and time in motion. The migrants bring with them a cultural heritage that enriches the lives of residents. In its long journey, an English Swallow, dark from above, light from below, swallows landscape. Its travail begins in the elemental South African solar heat that is transformed by photosynthesis into Protea flowers. The heat generates a propelling force that carries the bird over veld, above water-seeking springboks, across deserted sand dunes and dark-light realms of fluttering hoopoes until green-topped, white cliffs signal arrival time before May begins to bloom. Speedwell urges onwards; forget-me-not reminds of home; cowslips reflect the strengthening warmth of rising sun, and terns join in aerobatic arrival celebrations. But where is the welcome for human immigrants?

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