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‘I’m appalled’: The artist who put up a giant sign for refugees at sea to read

Nathan Coley has erected an illuminated sign facing out to sea at Newhaven, Sussex – which went up the day the government’s Rwanda plan for refugees was announced. How will the locals react? Perched above the west promenade in Newhaven, as visible to refugees out at sea as it is to dogwalkers strolling along the front, is a huge message written in bright fairground lights, held aloft by a scaffold five metres high. “You imagine what you desire,” says the text sculpture, one of six by the Glasgow-based artist Nathan Coley that are currently installed at various locations across the Sussex landscape. “It’s at the end of the drag,” says Coley of the Newhaven one, “where people go for a picnic in their car – and it’s very deliberately facing the water.” Here, the ferry takes holidaymakers to and from Dieppe but, beyond that official corridor, the Channel also brings thousands of souls from places beyond mainland Europe. “Of all the locations, that one is the most politically charged,” says the 54-year-old, choosing his words carefully in his light and peaceful studio in the Whisky Bond, a co-working space at Speirs Locks on the Glasgow Canal. Continue reading...

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