A Love for Chocolate.
When I first met Moury he barely spoke with anyone. He was too scared to do so. I asked him if he would write down the story of his journey from the Ivory Coast to the U.K. seeking political asylum. Six months later he called to say that he had finished a little diary of about 20 pages. When asking him to write, I was thinking that it might somehow exorcise his fears. A way of saying ‘This is the past and my present is very different now. I made it through.’
At that time I was doing some photography for Christmas fairs. Chocolate was everywhere. Moury’s journey in comparison with the cocoa coming from his country couldn’t be more different. In 2015 the chocolate industry in the U.K. was valued at two billion pounds. Close to two thirds of the world’s cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast.
This installation brings together two disconnected worlds; the chocolate industry and the process that a political asylum seeker like Moury has to endure in order to gain refugee status today. The interaction between these two worlds translates into a social tension between the global market and compassionate humanity. My hope is that this work will explore and challenge the complex interaction in our society between people, commodity and value.
This project is for Moury, for his kindness, generosity and courage, also for the many other asylum seekers I met while volunteering at the Notre Dame Refugee Centre in London between 2010 and 2012.