b. 1961, UK
“When my father died, I inherited certain things, things nobody else in the family wanted, but I was absolutely fascinated by. They are plane and railway tickets. My father kept every single railway ticket from when he was in Iraq in the 1950s and all the airline tickets he acquired throughout his life. There are about 300 airline tickets, and the earliest one is from the Iraqi National Railways from the mid 1950s and the passengers listed are my father and my mother. My parents divorced quite early on. My mother did live in Iraq for a little while, and in fact, I was conceived in Iraq, but she came back to England to have me.
This railway ticket is evocative for me for lots of different reasons because it’s almost like it’s evidence of my parents being together and evidence of my mother’s presence in Iraq.
It also tells about a life of movement, which for me and my family is very resonant, that people seem to be on the move all the time. This notion of travel and constant projection from one place to another until you find a resting place; a place to live your life, a place that will accept you. And that you will live your life in that place, it resonates for me as well. Also, because it is in Arabic and English, it feels familiar to me. It feels very personal and present for me even though it is from a country that I’ve never visited. It is evidence of my heritage.
It’s a very old and worn piece of paper, but there is a real beauty to the typography and the way everything is laid out. It feels like it is my passport into something, because I can understand it. There is my mother’s name, there is my father’s name, it’s just some words on a piece of paper but it resonates for me in terms of my identity.”