Stigmata sits at the intersection of research and art to challenge the myth that the over-representation of migrants within the Italian prison population reflects their natural proclivity to crime. By deconstructing deceptive statistics Stigmata shines a light on the complex cultural and social factors which lead to criminality by offering an alternative to narratives rooted in racism and fear.
The research starts from an analysis of media and political representations of migrants which begins a process of social and cultural exclusion. After reconstructing the language of fear and criminalization, “Stigmata” addresses the symbolic violence it enacts on migrants by reducing them to marginalising cliches.
Stigmata hinges on collaboration with former detainees, drawing research materials from the representational apparatus itself and the role it takes in determining the past, the future and the present of many migrants’ day-to-day lives.
Davide Lhamid is a London-based documentary photographer and visual artist. After completing his sociological and anthropological studies, he approached photography seeking for an alternative language to impactfully and widely communicate the critical thinking that social sciences provided him with. Accordingly, throughout the early years of his career, he has been looking for his position within the photographic practice as a consequence of his placement in the broader world as a social actor.
Being the son of both migrant parents, and in response to his personal and academic background, he developed a particular interest in social inequalities and structural and institutional forms of racism within migration processes. Aiming at bringing to light the functioning of social phenomena by deconstructing and questioning forms of common understanding, he hinges his visual research on linguistical and spatial dimensions of social processes. His practice is informed by research-based critical thinking drawing from a diverse theoretical framework including Michel Foucault’s studies on discourse and power apparatuses, Ian Hacking’s dynamic nominalism, and Angela Davies’ political writings on activism and prison abolishment.
His peculiar way of visualising social issues intends to produce multi-layered images able to create interconnections between their representation and their social and cultural premises. In order to accomplish such a purpose, he works with mixed media, using both analogue and digital photography, moving image, together with textual and archival materials, photocollage, and installations.