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JAY BEDWANI: CHANGING MIGRATIONS | ART PREVIEW

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The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff

Mon 7–Sat 26 Feb

words: ANNA BATES

Cardiff-based documentary photographer, Jay Bedwani, first developed an interest in photography while living in San Francisco in his early twenties. Moving back to Wales to study Documentary Photography at Newport University, he has since been involved in projects in the UK as well as abroad. He had had work published work in Oprah Magazine alongside numerous other exhibitions.

His latest exhibition Changing Migrations focuses on the new migration trends in Europe and in particular the recent immigrants of Cardiff and Italy. Having lived in different countries himself, as well as meeting people from all over the world in Cardiff, Bedwani’s approach was to create portraits of immigrants which reflect a human and social perspective rather than a necessarily political one: “I wanted to focus on the people and how as humans we need to adapt and settle into new environments. It’s an enjoyable subject for me as I get to meet interesting people from so many different backgrounds. It has been a really positive experience to meet people who often speak to me with great sincerity and optimism. I hope this is reflected in the images” said Bedwani.

Changing Migrations also focuses on Lampedusa Island: a rocky piece of land belonging to Italy which serves as the entry point to Europe for illegal immigrants.

Bedwani’s photography reveals a society that is welcoming but cautious, and trying to recover from political scandal: “Lampedusa is an unusual island. It manages to feel both sparse and claustrophobic simultaneously” said Bedwani. “Hidden on the island are shipwrecks and small battered boats waiting to be removed and destroyed by the coastguard. Its people are welcoming but cautious, and I encountered a number of locals understandably suspicious of my camera and my motives. I found a place that was trying to recover from a political and human rights scandal. An island which welcomes the wealthy Italian tourists it relies upon, but deports legitimate asylum seekers on a daily basis.”

Bedwani’s project expertly reflects multicultural Cardiff in a human way while also tactfully approaching the subject of immigration problems in Lampedusa and wider Europe.

Admission: free. Info: 07788 131413 / www.jaybedwani.com

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