The aim of this project has been to explore the personal impact of geographical displacement among foreign women living temporarily in Azerbaijan, and to gain some perspective on the image of the expatriate woman among the local female population.
The cross section of participants aims to reflect the variety of foreign women present in this country, ranging from working woman to home maker, single or married, with or without children and so on. The motivations for accepting foreign postings are many, and each of my interviewees had their own perspective on how this contributes to their subsequent experiences in the country of temporary residence.Recurring themes include feelings of disorientation and alienation, sometimes leading to feelings of isolation and powerlessness, but also more positive themes, such as a sense of expanded horizons, greater curiosity about the surrounding environment, and increased tolerance towards difference in general.
The contrast between the photographic and painted surfaces is intended to reflect these notions of dissonance, whilst establishing a conversation between image and the materiality of paint itself. The gestural nature of the painted marks echoes the transient life of the expatriate; always on the move, never quite still enough to adopt and adapt to new environments.
The participants were all volunteers who agreed to take part in an arts project having completed the online questionnaire 'Surveyexpat', which I developed in collaboration with Mirjana Madigan (independent expert on survey development) and Mathilde Panigel Nguyen (OSCE). The participants came from a large range backgrounds, cultures and age groups. All the interviews took place over the course of 6 months from September 2013 to February 2014.
The selection of local interviewees reflects foreign women in their range of ages, marital status, number of children and whether they work or not.
The audio recordings have been recorded by the local women who volunteered to take part in the project. All participants had full knowledge that they would be visible as participants in the documentary film, which was shot in Baku for the exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and the Exhibition was realised with the support of The Museum of Modern Art of Baku and Yay! Gallery.