SEBA KURTIS

*By Deb
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1974. My dad lost business when I was a teenager and we had to give up our house and everything we owned. We left home with just our clothes and a shoe box full of family photos.

After years of struggling, I left to Europe to make a new start. A friend of mine found me a job in the Canary Islands, Spain to do manual labor. I used to work every day with other illegal immigrants like me from South America and Africa.

My sister and my father joined me after a while. He worked as a security guard until he saved enough money to bring my mother and my brother over to Spain too. 5 years later we finally got the legal permission to stay in Europe permanently.

The box of family photos was our only memorabilia from Argentina. They had been damaged by a flood, and they became the series Shoe Box.

The project Drowned was born after working with guys from Africa when I was doing manual labor in the Canary Islands. I used to listen to stories about how they crossed the ocean. Every year many Africans die of thirst or drowning in the attempt.

After finishing a shooting project, I decided to drown the boxes of 5×4 film in the ocean before I processed them as a representation of those who tried to reach Europe. The films inside the boxes which washed back on to the shore, became a book

My take on immigration, and of others I met is simply trying for a better life. But after leaving your country, an immigrant doesn’t really belong anywhere anymore.

Now I live outside Manchester and I love skateboarding with my son Prodan.

seba kurtis

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