Flying the flag for Refugee Week 2023

Published: 9 June 2023

Artist Iman Tajik's 'Who Is?' flag flown from the University of Glasgow's flagpole to mark Refugee Week 2023.

Press view: Monday 19 June, 9.30am - 10.30am

To mark Refugee Week 2023, The Hunterian will display artist Iman Tajik’s Who Is? flag, currently part of our exhibition Unravelling Times, on the University of Glasgow’s North flagpole. 

2023 marks the 25th anniversary of Refugee Week, held every year to celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Tajik’s white flag embellished with the words “Who are they? Who are we?” aims to draw attention to the plight of migrants and comments on the borders, both visible and invisible, that we have created throughout history. 

Tajik’s politically-engaged work features in current exhibition Unravelling Times at the Hunterian Art Gallery and conveys his own experience of migration and border-crossing. His featured work includes images from photographic series Calais (2015), created during the artist’s visit to the migrant camp infamously dubbed ‘The Jungle’ and footage from his Bordered Miles project in which he staged a walk to the Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.

Through a programme of arts and events, Refugee Week seeks to encourage an understanding of why people are displaced and the challenges they face when seeking safety. By flying the Who Is? flag from the University of Glasgow’s flagpole, The Hunterian seeks to provide a platform for people who have sought refuge in Scotland and promotes the University as a welcoming place of safety for all.  The University of Glasgow is part of the City of Sanctuary UK initiative and holds a University of Sanctuary status in recognition of its commitment to supporting people who have experienced forced migration.

The Who Is? flag is part of an ongoing art project between artists Iman Tajik and Jonas Jessen Hansen, created to open conversation surrounding the current migrant crisis and the treatment of refugees. The flag was first exhibited on World Refugee Day in 2017 and has since been exhibited in various countries all over the world. It will be on display on the University of Glasgow North flagpole located at the main gate for Refugee Week, from Monday 19–Sunday 25 June.

Unravelling Times is at the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, until 15 October 2023. Admission is free.


For media information contact Rachel Hughes 07794292775.

Notes to Editors

The Hunterian Contemporary Art Programme

The oldest public museum in Scotland, with collections spanning arts, sciences and humanities, The Hunterian is at the forefront of university museums around the world. Since it opened at the University of Glasgow in 1807, The Hunterian has been an invaluable academic and community resource. It is committed to becoming a more meaningful place for more diverse audiences.

The Hunterian’s contemporary art programme responds to and interacts with The Hunterian collections, spaces and histories to make new connections and to reflect people, ideas and stories. The Hunterian collection’s historic foundation is a repository of knowledge that materialises the problematic history of Western society and its fundamentally colonial and capitalist underpinnings. Taking this as a point of departure and critical reflection, The Hunterian’s contemporary art programme seeks to interrogate the institution’s genealogy, and to introduce different perspectives into its spaces.

Working with a wide range of artists on acquisitions, commissions, exhibitions and events, our contemporary art programme allows The Hunterian to find new ways of using our historic collections to understand the contemporary world.

The Hunterian’s University context creates room for intellectual inquiry and a process of learning and experimentation. As one of the few purpose-built art galleries in Glasgow — a city renowned for its large art community—The Hunterian offers a space in which work by emerging local artists and more established international practitioners can be exhibited to wide and diverse audiences, enabling connection, reflection and experimentation.

Since 2017, The Hunterian has featured solo exhibitions by artists such as Neil Clements, Ilana Halperin, Alex Impey, Ulrike Ottinger, Elizabeth Price and Jimmy Robert. Group exhibitions have included works by, among others: Sarah Browne; Phil Collins; Tacita Dean; Manthia Diawara; Andrew Kerr; Nalini Malani; Jade Montserrat; Shahryar Nashat; Otobong Nkanga; Charlotte Prodger; Carol Rhodes; Margaret Salmon; Simon Starling; Corin Sworn. The Hunterian has also supported projects with John Gerrard (a major outdoor video installation for COP26), Elisabeth Schilling (a week of dance performances and a symposium in 2019). They have undertaken collaborations with other arts organisations, including The Common Guild, Goethe Institute Glasgow, Glasgow International, Film and Video Umbrella, Leeds Arts University, and the Roberts Institute of Art, all of which have brought benefits through co-funding and knowledge exchange.

The Hunterian has commissioned new works from artists including: Claire Barclay, Alex Impey, Neil Clements, Minty Donald & Nick Millar, Louise Hopkins, and Georgina Starr (in partnership with Art Fund, FVU and GI). We have received funding awards from VNXXCAS 2021, CAS Rapid Response Fund 2020, Art Fund Moving Image Fund for Museums (2018), Henry Moore Institute (2018), the Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy (2021).

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About the exhibition

Unravelling Times
12 May - 15 October 2023
Hunterian Art Gallery
Admission Free

The first new contemporary art exhibition at The Hunterian in 2023, Unravelling Times features works by pioneering experimental filmmaker Lis Rhodes which have recently been acquired for The Hunterian collection through a Freelands Art Fund Acquisition award. These range from the influential work Pictures on Pink Paper from 1982, a feminist exploration of gendered systems of value and power, to more recent works that track the social and political implications of neo-liberalism in the UK and internationally. It is the most significant acquisition of works by Rhodes in Scotland to date.

The exhibition makes connections between the themes and formal approaches in Rhodes's works and the practices of three Glasgow-based artists: Anne-Marie Copestake, Francis McKee and Iman Tajik. Across the works included, feminist experimental filmmaking, strategies for representing political protest, and experiences of migration come into focus as critical concerns of the past forty years in Rhodes's work and that of artists who share her commitment to radical practice.

About the artist

Iman Tajik is an Iranian artist and photographer based in Glasgow, Scotland. His politically-engaged artistic practice uses photography, performance, sculpture and installation to articulate the artist’s own experience of migration and border-crossing in relation to wider social realities. Throughout Tajik’s work, the concept of ‘performing the border’ is a central concern, underpinned by an understanding that borders are experienced in relation to power structures and inequalities. Iman Tajik founded the Who is? Project in collaboration with Jonas Jessen Hansen in 2017. Who Is? Project has been created as a space to open conversation surrounding the current migrant crisis and the rise of nationalism.




First published: 9 June 2023