“My husband dreams of a specific tree in his village – and this will probably never leave him”.
Musician, Faith Ristic, and her father, Derek Elliot, a furniture maker, have travelled within their collaboration.
Living separately in Vienna and the Cotswolds, they have physically and imaginatively worked across the distance of their own lives, and that of others.
They visited the Hunder twasser Museum in Vienna together, a visit shared with Faith’s husband Branko, a musician and member of the Romani people. Derek paid attention to the atmosphere of peaceful refuge at the spiritual sites of the tomb of the 13th century Persian scholar and theologian Rumi, and at the House of the Virgin Mary above Ephesus, both in Turkey.
Faith and Branko are themselves seeking their own return to Britain, as they dwell alongside the lives of those currently fleeing Syria, seeking refuge in Europe:
“Myself and my husband live in a situation in which we are both currently unable to live in our own countries. We live in Vienna. At our nearest train station there have been thousands of refugees sleeping on the platforms; there have been Austrians driving to the border to bring the refugees into Vienna; banks have closed in the centre of town to provide temporary housing.”
These journeys offered a point of connection for Derek, Faith and Branko to work together. They responded to the struggle of finding refuge and the struggles of dislocation. They witnessed personal acts of humanity in caring for strangers, amidst the challenge of making sense of the wider currents of their own migration paths and the international refugee crisis:
“The whole experience of these themes: borders, boundaries, immigration, refugees – can be expressed as a sensor y feeling through our music. This is more of a journey without an end. Nothing is written or particularly ‘composed’ in our music, it is a sensory reaction to these themes and very much felt through colour. A Romani and UK musician reaching across their own boundaries”
“I remembered that Faith had what is called a cajón when she was younger – a box with a drum snare and a resonating front, which you can sit on and play like a drum. I made up three cajónes which are robust enough to be played. Each are veneered in different colours. The paper applied includes Faith’s paperwork for the visa process plus a personal commentar y on her own and others experience of being unsettled and uprooted.”