Bus Logos As Beacons of Hope

Yto Barrada documents how Morocco's migrants get where they're going.

12.18.13 8:20 PM ET

DAILY PIC: "Autocar–Tangier, Figs. 1–4," is a poignant group of images by Yto Barrada that's in the show of newly acquired photos at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. They present the corporate logos on the buses that run from Morocco to cities in Europe. Illegal and illiterate migrants use these symbols to figure out which buses they need to be on to reach their destinations of choice – unless they get nabbed before they even climb aboard. Barrada supplies quotes from some of those laborers, giving new meaning to her supergraphics:

Fig. 1: “Portugal bus goes direct, no stop. Nazarenes, old and young. Parked in front of the shrimp factory. One guard, but since he’s in charge of the whole area, he can’t check everything all the time. Climb in the middle of the planchas. Those who have papers go inside the bus.”

Fig. 2: “French with Moroccan plates. Migrants from Italy, Spain, France. Parked in front of the port near the ticket booth. 4 AM arrival in Tangier, 6 PM departure. Bring biscuits and dates, and plastic bag for shoes. They notice in Spain right away if your shoes are not clean. Bus goes onto Bismillah ferry, room for three small people under the bus.”

Fig. 3: “To Barcelona. Sometimes Egyptians are on the bus, not only Nazarenes. It only comes in summer. The guards are paid well and they change three times: one in the morning, one afternoon and one all night. They are always old. They have a television set. Room for two hiding places, one in front and one in the back.”

(© 2013 Yto Barrada, courtesy Sfeir-Semler Gallery)

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