Written and Illustrated by Kurda Yar

The Nordic Mustered Fields, 2005, Watercolour on Hand Made Thai Paper, Copenhagen. A photograph taken on a bus on my way to Norway to visit a family friend.

It has been more than a couple of years now since I left my home city Slemani to Europe with the mission ‘seeking peace’ in head. The intensity of the displacement processes and the unpredictability they entailed; laid my ‘self’ in a situation that it couldn’t capture the scale and speed of the transformations it was going through.

The unavoidable incremental adaptation in accordance with my ever-changing circumstances in those years, together with the variability of the swiftness these changes where happening- some very slow, while others very rapid with acute consequences, sometimes plagued that the ‘self’ was on constant alert and on shift to keep the equilibrium in-between these alterations.

White Dahlia, 2004, Pastel Colours, Copenhagen. Image from a flower book

Fleeing the war and seeking asylum passages internally make you to focus. To focus very carefully on the next steps. For, if you make any mistake or if you ended up with bad luck during these passages, fatal consequences would be harshly waiting for you.

Lily of the Valley, 2005, Watercolour, Copenhagen. Image from a flower book

The displacement routes are simply like gigantic mats of snakes and ladders where you are at risk of being eaten by any kind of snakes, anywhere and anytime in the due course of your crossroads. If you were destined to be swallowed by a snake, then you had to re-start the journey again from the point where its end-tale slithered you. And, that is only if you were lucky enough having survived the reverted journey intact, plus you had got enough capital as well as stamina to carry on continuing the mission to safety again.

Cherry Blossom, 2004, An experiment with Beetroot colour. Copenhagen. The rich pink colour of the beetroot oxidised and become brown with time.

It was difficult to have a coherent picture of my ‘self’ with all the fragmented imaginations and expectations the displacement journeys withheld. Having said that, and the fact that, our understandings of our ‘selves’ are to a great extent shaped, affected and determined by how our immediate surroundings depict us, together with the geographical and emotional shift from Global South to Global North, were adding more and more new layers of identities to the ‘self’, whilst missing, failing or annulling some others.

The interplay between attaching/harnessing newly parachuted identities, whilst weakening or dismissing deep-rooted ones were happening in concurrent fluctuating courses. Some were unconsciously adopted, whereas some others were either imposed, naturally faded away, or were obliged to be put on the shelves of life, waiting to be reclaimed, maybe one day.

Sunset (From Imagination), 2004, Pastel Colours, Copenhagen

In the repercussions of the intensity of these various experiences; where the ultimate goal was to be recognised as a persecuted human being, who therefore needs to be granted sanctuary; emanated impulsive, eccentric feelings of hollowness and at the same time, an utter feeling of exhaustion, complemented by relief.

The processes of my displacement journeys, and imagining a better life somewhere else in peace, were so all-consuming that after obtaining my authorised residency – which was the ultimate goal in order to secure a legitimate status for my feet on this planet – to my astonishment, my ‘self’ instead of applauding for a victorious outcome, suddenly felt lost without it.

Femørene Beach (near my flat on the Baltic Sea), 2003, Watercolour, Copenhagen

The feeling of the hollowness was exacerbated when seeing the emptiness of the clean and tidy streets and neighbourhoods. The neatly mowed grass that rarely the two-feet walkers stepped on. The empty playgrounds where the swings and sea-soles were waiting in despair to be touched by a few little hands. The solitary sea waves collapsing furiously on the abandoned beaches. All wordlessly reflected in the emptiness of their looks; the two-feet walkers’ eyes which very very occasionally met my eyes.

Gullakani kanar darya u Pyallakam (translates: Wildflowers from the beach and my Teacup), 2003, Watercolour, Copenhagen

To not be seen might seem liberating, as apparently if no one is looking at you, no one can judge you, but seemingly nobody sees you because your existence doesn’t flick any intrigue to them. Yes, my feet were legitimately on a piece of land, and embracing that land’s humane society. The society of emptiness.

Self-portrait, 2004, Graphic pencils, Copenhagen

To reach into safety was the centre of my ‘self’s’ world, and suddenly ‘bang’, that focus evaporated once I settled into a tiny flat within five minutes’ walk of the Baltic Sea. Just now, after accomplishing the mission, my ‘self’ had the time, space and a permanent floor under its feet, to step back and look at it as a part of its own narrative.

Now it was time for reflections …… time for admiring the splendidness of another survival, nevertheless also the right time to grieve. To grieve properly.