In Autocar–Tangier, Figs. 1–4, Barrada focused her lens on the corporate logos on the buses that shuttle between Morocco and destinations in Europe. For the illiterate in Tangier wishing to cross the border illegally, the colorful modernist logos serve as directional tools, identifying the different bus lines and destinations and allowing the migrants to plan their routes of escape. These abstract pictures function as powerful visual metonyms of the global phenomenon of migration and the lingering reverberations of colonialism in Africa.
Testimonials by bus riders
Fig. 1: “Portugal bus goes direct, no stop. Nazarenes, old and young. Parked in front of the shrimp factory. One guard, but since he’s in charge of the whole area, he can’t check everything all the time. Climb in the middle of the planchas. Those who have papers go inside the bus.”
Fig. 2: “French with Moroccan plates. Migrants from Italy, Spain, France. Parked in front of the port near the ticket booth. 4 AM arrival in Tangier, 6 PM departure. Bring biscuits and dates, and plastic bag for shoes. They notice in Spain right away if your shoes are not clean. Bus goes onto Bismillah ferry, room for three small people under the bus.”
Fig. 3: “To Barcelona. Sometimes Egyptians are on the bus, not only Nazarenes. It only comes in summer. The guards are paid well and they change three times: one in the morning, one afternoon and one all night. They are always old. They have a television set. Room for two hiding places, one in front and one in the back.”
Gallery label from XL: 19 New Acquisitions in Photography, May 10, 2013–January 6, 2014.