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Lingering Ghosts Exhibition

Lingering Ghosts  

by Sam Ivin

In the Foyer of St Martin-in-the-Fields

What does it mean to be an asylum seeker in the UK? This was the starting point of  Sam Ivin’s research, which began at a drop in centre in Cardiff, Wales and continued all over England. It seeks to raise questions about how the UK’s migration system treats those who arrive in our country seeking safety.

The result is a series of hand scratched portraits, where the eyes have been erased: once arrived in the UK, these people find themselves in a state of limbo, having to await news of their application for asylum for months or even years. They become Lingering Ghosts.

These physically scratched portraits attempt to convey the cruel loss of self, and the frustration that befalls them as they wait to learn their fate.

Ivin’s work offers a contemplative take, away from the glaring lights of the media. His modified portraits simply and powerfully give a view on an issue that is often underreported: the plight of those that waiting for asylum.

Despite being represented without their eyes, these people do have an identity and we recognise them as fathers, mothers, sons and daughters – human beings, after all.


Sam Ivin’s work documents social issues through individual’s stories, with a focus on migration. He studied Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport graduating in 2014. His Lingering Ghosts series was produced and published by Italian communication research centre, Fabrica. (www.fabrica.it.)

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