​m.i.a. questions the refugee crisis in self-directed video for borders

The former i-D cover star, visual artist and musician takes the helm of her latest video, addressing the current refugee crisis with political new single.

by Tom Ivin
27 November 2015, 11:50am

After teasing her Instagram followers with the single artwork and a release date, the Sri-Lankan born, East London-raised artist is back with her new video for Borders. A politically-motivated M.I.A. sings in front of a series of visual metaphors including a World War Z-style mass exodus of bodies, scrambling to climb over a barbed wire fence, which later forms the shape of a ship - a human Noah's Ark with Maya Arulpragasam as its captain. In one poignant shot, the bodies climbing the fence assemble to spell LIFE.

In a pale orange hued, de-saturated and deserted landscape, over distant deep sirens and muted trap drums, the video's messages and the styling are sharpened to a fine point, whilst the singer questions simply 'Borders, what's up with that? Politics, what's up with that?' M.I.A. is at her best when pairing socio-political situations about escapism and entrapment with bold moving photographs; jump to 3.30 where the cast of the video own their golden emergency blankets like fashion statements.

Having lost the moniker of a "problem artist" in recent years, with Borders, M.I.A. proves a peaceful maturity with lyrics like 'We're solid and we don't need to kick them', yet still continues themes of previous videos, presenting the idea of persecution of the human condition with a global scope. With the announcement of new material, there is still no sign of her ill-fated tour documentary, which at this point looks lost to the archives.

refugee crisis