“What creates the feeling of home? What makes a country? Why live in a continuous rhetoric of ‘us’ and ‘them’?” Are questions photographer Deividas Buivydas asks in his project F(L)IGHT.
The series is a “personal and thoughtful reflection of the current state of the UK and the EU,” Deividas tells It’s Nice That. The project is based in Boston, Lincolnshire, a town which “gained a lot of attention from the media, labelled as ‘the face of Brexit’, as it had the highest leave vote,” the photographer explains. Due to the close observation of the town, Deividas’ home for two years and where he returned to visit his mother, he felt that “the media portrayed the town as one-sided, and this encouraged me to continue documenting the town, trying to show multiple perspectives of the situation.” As a result, the photographs act as “an example of the impact of the reaction against the EU’s rules on freedom of movement, and the different communities it effects; the ‘local’ and the ‘migrant’”.
As an individual, Deividas’ whole life has been constantly on the move. “I’ve moved to different places more than 15 times, I’ve lived in six different cities, and have been living on my own since I was 16,” he says. There is a tryptic of meanings in the title of the series, the ‘flight’ “stands for my personal decision to leave my home country,” moving to Britain to study photography. “The ‘fight’ represents the dissatisfaction and tension of the local people, and the ‘light’ is a hope for a better tomorrow for people who have left their countries.”
Deividas began documenting Boston in Spring 2016, in the run up to the June referendum. “It started out of hate for the place and the alienating feeling I always experienced visiting the town,” he explains. “At that point, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say with this project, but I felt a need to continue visiting the town and keep documenting it.” The mix of location and politics evidently play “an important role” in F(L)IGHT yet, the photographer describes this was “more like a backdrop for the project which suggests larger concerns”.
Across the photographs, despite being shot largely in daylight, there is a darkness that surrounds the project. Deividas describes this as a “diaspora blue, a distinct shade that inundates my photography”. “In it, one can recognise the language of disconnection, loneliness, alienation, and yet also a reality-defying hope. The life of the immigrant is one of combined contraries – facing rejections every day while also striking to create a community, feeling alienated while also part of a large group, on the outskirts of society, but then again in the middle of it. It’s centred around being an outcast, as the dream of the West turns into a purgatory of not belonging. This project – which could almost be considered an anthropological study – finely touches the subject of migration and the loss of identity, of losing one’s roots, cultural heritage and connections with loved ones.”
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