The title “Baħar Cimiterju,” translating to “cemetery at sea,” poignantly alludes to the concept of death by water, specifically drowning—a tragically frequent fate endured by migrants in the Mediterranean. In literal terms the title of the work also refers to the sea as a resting place. The inception of this artwork was prompted by a disconcerting report unveiled by the German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel in November 2017 which published a work by artist Banu Cennetoglu titled “The List” which reacted to information compiled by Amsterdam-based organistion UNITED for Intercultural Action which concerned the loss of life of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants within or on the borders of Europe since 1993.
Marlon Tabone’s response to this report materialized during his inaugural year of study at Goldsmiths in 2018. According to the report, at the time an excess of 33,000 migrants had lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea since 1993. The monumental magnitude of this number galvanised the artist to action, leading to the creation of this statement—a reaction to the information contained within “The List”—an assertion that retains its resonance and relevance even at the present juncture.