Migrants

Migrants
Issa Watanabe
Gecko Press

Just when we’re hearing of more and more migrants attempting to reach our shores in unsafe boats, arrived this timely book.

With its striking images it snares the attention right from the start as we’re shown the journey of a disparate group of migrants who plod through a dark forest with just a few belongings in bundles.
Behind them stalks the grim reaper accompanied by a huge blue ibis.

En route to the next stage of their journey, the travellers stop to rest and share food

before moving on towards the coast where a boat is waiting.

Everyone crowds on board with Death flying above on the ibis.

But the vessel is no match for the powerful waves that destroy it long before they reach land leaving those that are able, to swim to the shore.

There, they realise that one of their number has died and having gathered around to bid a final farewell,

on they trudge, still pursued by death with more falling by the wayside as their arduous, grief stricken journey continues.

Finally the depleted group arrives at a place where tree life blossoms and maybe, … a little hope.

Issa Watanabe has created without a single word, one of the most harrowing portrayals of migration I’ve seen in a book.

With her characters standing out starkly against the constant black backdrop, each illustration captures the determination and dignified demeanour of the travellers; yet, she leaves space for readers to do some of the interpretation themselves.

Truly a visual tour-de force, albeit one that leaves us feeling raw and tearful.