This article will consider the current migratory passage in the Mediterranean towards Lampedusa with a focus on memorial objects. The arrival of refugees’ boats, often victims of shipwrecks, on the island of Lampedusa, over the past decades, has produced a large quantity of ‘debris’, which the locals stored in improvised ‘cemeteries’ of boats that were also used as the island’s landfills.
Within the island, the local Collective Askavusa has played a central role in rescuing whatever they could from the wrecked boats, including private photographs, shoes, pots, religious texts and other personal items that accompany the migrants on their often deadly passage of the Mediterranean.
We do not know if the owners of these objects survived the journey. However, they have come to serve as material testimonies to a continuing perilous global transit, which has exposed the inadequacies of European and International policies that continue to illegalize the right of refugees to move and survive. Askavusa has not simply collected the surviving objects, it has created a space called Porto M, where the objects are displayed to the public, in order to preserve something tangible from the often traumatic memory of the passage.