Kenneth Kajoranta

Falmouth College of Arts

For sales, commissions and to send comments to the artist click here

























Artist Statement:
The Sangatte refugee camp near Calais closed its doors to new residents on November 15th, and it was said that it would close altogether by April 2003.

The formal closure of Sangatte – the controversial Red Cross refugee centre that long blighted relations between London and Paris – took place a month later and the last of the centre’s ‘residents’ were bussed away December 14th to start new lives on either side of the English Channel.

Shortly afterward, bulldozers started tearing down the buildings and clearing the site to eradicate any trace of the structure existing. But its memory will linger long in the minds of French and British, and remains a symbol to the aspirations of hundreds of `illegal’ immigrants entering Western Europe.

Since the opening of the Sangatte refugee camp, it had been criticised and portrayed in British media as a global magnet for would-be asylum seekers to get into Britain. The camp 10km from the Channel Tunnel was meant to house some 300 people, but became a home to 1500 refugees desperately trying to smuggle themselves onto a train or a lorry to take them across the Channel.

I photographed Sangatte from October 2002 to April 2003 – a time period that has seen the last desperate groups of immigrants arriving, the closure and the start of the war on Iraq, 20th March – ironically turning thousands of people into refugees.

I was not going to Sangatte to be a journalist and to duplicate what the Media had already done, to take pictures of refugees. I was more interested in looking for clues and evidence that begin a narrative that has to exist in people's heads, going beyond the picture.

The aim of the project was to develop a more contemplative approach to the complex issue of Sangatte; it is also a reaction against British mainstream media, who have resumed a stance of stereotypical images of refugees, in their frustration to articulate the complexities of the Sangatte shelter.

The last physical traces of Sangatte are rubbed out; the question of how to deal with illegal immigrants and asylum seekers continues to trouble the UK and the EU.

I am continuing this work by focusing on immigrant communities and their attempts to integrate in the UK.


Kenneth Kajoranta

Falmouth College of Arts

For sales, commissions and to send comments to the artist.


Your name :

Email :

Your Message :
Please include the artist’s name you are inquiring about.