Have you ever heard or read one the following statements?
They steal our jobs
They are invading us
It will cost us a lot of money
They have more rights than me
They are all terrorists
This is a selection of the commonplaces built around migrants and the general migration topics. They are widely unmotivated, undocumented phrases but they still find place in our conversations. And who’s to blame: the word of mouth? the distorted communication of mass media? the popular culture?
Satire to Campaign Against Prejudices on Migrants
Dario Campagna doesn’t try to point fingers. Instead, he is exposing the public attitude towards migrants and racial minorities in Italy through satire. He recently signed “Olu Gi”, a series of eight illustrated plates that dig and target stereotypes linked to the perception of diversity.
Dario Campagna was born in the ’80s in Southern Italy city of Palermo. He is an illustrator and a journalist. He has produced comic strips, illustrations, stories and graphic reportages for international organisations such as Greenpeace, WWF, as well as Italian publishing houses Mondadori and BeccoGiallo, and news outlets.
“I’ve been asked to dedicate myself to a current topic that is very relevant to us,” Campagna says.
He added: “In my comics, we aim to go beyond the stereotype that pigeonholes migrants with no way out.
It’s important to stress that they are people before labels.”
“Olu Gi” Gives Voice to Migrants to Challenge Stereotypes
“Olu Gi” means “your voice” in Igbo, one of the most widespread languages in Africa. “Olu Gi” is also the name of the campaign created by HRYO (Human Rights Youth Organization), a Palermo-based organisation that promotes and defends human rights at a local and international level.
The campaign is part of the larger New Neighbors project, founded by the European Commission to promote intercultural media spaces. In this light, “Olu Gi” addresses the common narratives relative to the image of migrants through the provocative signature of the cartoonist Dario Campagna.
Eight prickly, grotesque, often caustic caricatures plates were published weekly to target stereotypes. These are nor supposed or heard from but are the direct narrations of migrants. As part of the campaign several migrants were interviewed.
Something that emerged, especially during the pandemic, is stereotyping connected with narratives of pity and ‘dependency culture’. Organisations (composed of Italians) which offer support and assistance to migrants rarely give free reign to community work initiatives by organisations run by migrants. This strengthens the way in which foreigners are perceived by Italians, that is: “they believe that we depend on their aid and that we are unable to organise ourselves”.
Migrants were invited to share their stories for the campaign. It is from these stories that many prejudices originate and are nurtured from a stereotyped idea of the concepts of care, assistance and dependence.
Through the tool of satire, the “Olu Gi” campaign opens a space for reflection and dialogue around the existing models of integration of migrants into society, leading the public in a journey through truthful and unsettling cartoons, trusting in the strength of laughter to bury any prejudice. The campaign is supported by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union.
To watch the eight plates click here.