WIPP PHO 703 Surfaces and Strategies.

First draft, August 3rd. Still a work in progress at this time.

Migration has been a constant presence in my life, as our family first relocated to Yemen when I was months old and we would relocate every three years, thereafter. This background has left me with a deep connection with other migrants. My current home is Houston, Texas, which is diverse and has a large migrant community that provides the workforce backbone of the city.

The area that I am focussing on is on the outskirts of Houston where there is a rapid and ongoing expansion. The original dwellers in the area were the Mayan, Apache, Tonkawa tribes, who all left marks of their presence in the area, although it is only really visible in street names.

My intent is to document and illustrate the evidence of the migrant journeys, and the trace evidence left behind from their labours. The hand rendered walls, the years of tar and paint applications applied in extreme weather conditions. The vilified migrant, and their artwork go unnoticed. They are both metaphorically removed when the stucco is applied.

The shift created by COVID-19 brought about a meditative, reflective approach to recording these journeys and hand renderings. Drawing on my own experiences and influences, including Brice Marden and Cy Twombly gave me inspiration for camera-less work, turning to printmaking and mixed media.

This has resulted in following a path that I did not see at the start of my journey, but one that has moved me to produce images that I feel capture my thoughts of a very complex historical issue that is still being played out today.



De Ferrier, Texas heat and builders tape. 2020

















De Ferrier, Woven journeys. 2020




De Ferrier, The hand rendered wall. 2020


De Ferrier, Migrant journeys. 2020




Repurposing photographs.

Repurposing an image that I made for last modules construction series was what I chose to do for this task. I wanted to make the image appear to be like mosaics, or highly decorative work, that you see when visiting ancient buildings when you travel. The aim here was to make a connection between the migrant workers, who build these stunning structures, and ancient decorative architecture which would probably have been built by a similar workforce. I really wanted to experiment with this image, and create something visually engaging, and yet still retain a deeper meaning within. To still have the indexical link of the hand rendered marks on the concrete walls as proof that the migrants were here. The buildings are eventually covered in stucco in order to conform to the surrounding aesthetic which is required by the city, the migrant rendering vanishes under the stucco.

mg_0117De Ferrier, New Construction. 2020


mum art

De Ferrier, Repurposed Construction. 2020

Independent reflection week 1.


De Ferrier, Repurposed Silo. 2020

My current practice is concerned with the migrant poulation here in Houston, Texas. My aim is to photograph areas that predominantly focus on new construction, and the repurposing of exsisting buildings. These areas are on the outskirts of the city, and the manpower used is almost exclusively the migrant population. The migrants may be documented or un documented, this is the main reason for the lack of portraiture in my work. I will not expose migrants to ICE, or deportation.

The Ed Ruscha project over the break was well received, I made a book layout documenting taco buses, and an accordion book of rural shop closures. The book layout was interesting, but I’m not sure that the work is successful enough to make me want to make more images. The accordion book I feel was rather more engaging, I think it’s driven by my interest in the banal and the overlooked.


De Ferrier, Rural Store Closures. 2020


One of the main challenges that I have had is scale. I feel that this subject matter needs to be large. In answer to this I have built a canvas, and a very large cyanotype and hope to be able to work on these surfaces in a interdisaplinary way. Julie Mehretus work is really fascinating in relation to the scale, and reference to race riots which took place on the landscape she paints.


De Ferrier, Building Bones. 2020



De Ferrier, Cyanotype Building Bones. 2020 ( Dimensions 84 x 60in.)

This is my very first attempt at cyanotype, it was an attempt at displaying the bones of the wooden frames in the new building process here in Houston. This type of work is almost exclusively untertaken by migrant workers.


De Ferrier, Building bones detail. 2020


De Ferrier, Building bones detail. 2020

Research Project and Interests.

IMG_0377De Ferrier, New construction. 2020

Research Project & Interests

I am very interested in the flow of people. The reasons for migration and diaspora are reasonably clear, people move for economic, or safety reasons. The list is short, but most reasons for migration can fall into one or other category; safety or economic. I have travelled, lived and worked across the globe for most of my life. I am yet to encounter someone who relishes the idea of leaving their home, their families, or their surroundings. This, along with the very real, and quite often hostile reception that can be experienced in the new host country. Whatever leads to this forced movement brings with it a new existence and a new normal.

My research has led to photographing new structures being built on the outskirts of the city of Houston, Texas. The workforce is almost entirely made up of migrant workers, who brave the brutal Texas heat to create buildings in order to fulfill rampant consumerism. The difficulties came quickly as I was removed from every site that I entered so portraits of the migrant workers were not possible. I mitigated this by focusing on the things that were left behind. This almost forensic approach was an interesting outcome and only arose because I could not photograph the people that I was most interested in. Portraiture was captured of students at an International school along with hand written notes of what they miss from home.

De Ferrier, Marcos. 2020

De Ferrier, Marcos hand written note. 2020

Marcos is from Venezuela his note reads. “I miss when I wouldn’t have to worry if my family had anything to eat.”