Skip to main content
artwork spotlight

Ruth BIANCO – Lines of Migration

Ruth BIANCO – Lines of Migration © EP 2023

Malta, 2020

Collage diptych - montage on handmade paper, 160 × 250 cm

Purchased from the artist in 2023

Ruth BIANCO (Malta) presents at exhibition Art in democracy her artwork Lines of Migration, 2020 -21

Engaging with space

Throughout her practice, Bianco’s focus on the investigation of space has been fundamental. Interested in its agency, how it acts and is acted upon, her attraction to the dynamics of space has led her to embody a choreographic metaphor for itinerancy and transboundary movement. Blurring the boundaries between sea, land and air, Lines of Migration signifies a social space constituted by an assemblage of territories, with a particular focus on the critical condition of the current refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Looking more closely at her collage, one begins to notice particular details such as the series of paper boat drawings, as well as the unidentifiable silhouettes of people. Amongst these are images of the coastal area of the Central Mediterranean route taken by migrants and asylum seekers; they are framed within a boarder made up of dotted lines that trail throughout the work. Additionally, phrases from texts are partially visible, providing clues to the content of the unconventional map laid out before us. The following is more clearly legible:

“Key migrant routes from Africa to Europe”

“Malta, Africa, Europe”


“Malta’s actions vis-a-vis irregular migration”

“Countries of origin and transit”

“Land to land”

“Started the journey from Libyan shores”

“Human treatment of migrant and asylum-seekers”

“Determination of asylum claims”

“Failed asylum seekers”

“Europe ways”

Ruth Bianco, Lines of Migration, Malta, 2020
Collage diptych - montage on handmade paper, details

For Bianco, the above described imagery stands as a powerful pictorial signifier on how we mediate the world and how we create spaces to coexist. It is in this regard that the Maltese artist relates her work to democracy through its underpinning of connectivity.  

Lines of Flight

Bianco’s title Lines of Migration alludes to the “line of flight” or a line of escape (French: ligne de fuite), a concept developed by the French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari; it represents the process of deterritorialization, a process of becoming. They define the function of deterritorialization as "the movement by which one leaves a territory", thereby "constituting and extending” the territory itself, also known as a "lines of flight”. (Deleuze, G. Guattari, F. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Athlone Press, 1988).

Concerning the above, Bianco questions: ‘What is the meaning of territory?’.

This interrogation, she indicates, is triggered by her observation that the notion of "territory" has become increasingly elusive. Accordingly, her collage appears to integrate conceptual notions of elusive boundaries with geo-cultural and transitional spaces. Bianco maps before us (migratory) “lines of flight”, delineating the deterritorialization of people moving from one point to another.

Engagement with the European Union

During her ongoing professorship in Fine Art at the University of Malta, Bianco initiated Art in Architecture, an innovative framework introducing pedagogic environments for contemporary transdisciplinary spatial practice merging art and architecture. 

In connection to the above, Bianco also served on government culture boards, most notably as art director, having made a major contribution to the development of the Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS), a new project realised by the Government of Malta infrastructural legacy project for the Culture and the Arts sector. Scheduled to open in 2024, this project is partly financed by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund – European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020. 

This forms part of Malta’s National Strategy for the promotion of cross-cultural understanding, by raising public awareness to the significance of the arts in contemporary life by bringing to the forefront the way art and artists help mediate and interpret the world we live in.

Ms. Ruth Bianco meeting with Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, and FR Marcellino Micallef, founder of the Soup Kitchen who won the 2023 European Citizen Award.

Ruth Bianco presents her artwork Lines of Migration at the European Parliament for the exhibition Art in Democracy (23 October - 30 June 2024). The exhibition displays the critical and personal visions of the featured artists who, through their artistic production, have taken a clear position in favour of defending democracy. They contribute to reinforcing awareness of the need to stand up for democratic freedoms, pointing towards the duty to remain alert and participatory in processes as decisive as the European elections. In this connection, they remind us that European citizens have a crucial role to play in defending democracy by voting in the upcoming European elections in June 2024.

More information

Ruth BIANCO : Lines of Migration, 2020-2021 - On display in Parlamentarium, Brussels

Ruth BIANCO – Lines of Migration


Click on the coloured dots and discover the european historical context

Browse the calendar and discover the european historical context

  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2026
  • 2027
  • 2028
  • 2029
  • 2030
  • 2031
  • 2032
  • 2033
  • 2013

    Acquisition programme

    Acquisition programme of works of art from Croatia following the Bureau decision from 13 December 2006.

    Enlargement Croatia

    Croatia becomes the 28th member of the EU and newly-elected Croatian MEPs take their seats in the European Parliament.

  • 2014

    2014 European elections

    The eighth European elections take place in 28 EU countries. The European People’s Party (EPP) retains the largest political group in Parliament, but new parties gain influence. Turnout remains largely at 2009 level.

  • 2016

    Brexit referendum

    UK voters decide to support leaving the European Union in a closely-fought referendum called by UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The outcome of the referendum triggers the resignation of Cameron. His successor Theresa May pledges to take the UK out of the EU and initiates the process on 29 March 2017.

  • 2017

    Antonio Tajani

    Antonio Tajani served as President of the European Parliament from 2017 to 2019.

  • 2019

    David Sassoli

    David Sassoli served as President of the European Parliament from 2019 to 2022.

    Value of culture

    (…) the intrinsic value of culture and of artistic expression should always be preserved and promoted and that artistic creation is at the heart of cooperation projects. European Parliament legislative resolution of 28 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Creative Europe programme (2021 to 2027) and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 (COM(2018)0366 – C8 0237/2018 – 2018/0190(COD))

    2019 European elections

    The European elections in May 2019 see about 51% of EU voters go to the polls, the highest turnout in 20 years. The centre-right European People’s Party and centre-left Social Democrats lose seats but remain the two largest groups in Parliament, while other centrist and liberal parties make gains.

  • 2020


    After the European Parliament ratified the withdrawal agreement on 29 January, the UK leaves the EU about three and a half years after voters supported the move in a referendum.

    As of 1 February, the number of EU member states is 27 and the term of office of UK MEPs ends. The number of MEPs is 705 (previously 751), as some of the UK seats are allocated to existing member states to reflect demographic changes, while others are kept in reserve for when another country joins the EU.

  • 2021

    Acquisition programme of works of art from Germany, Poland, Spain and Sweden following the Bureau decision from 25 November 2019

  • 2022

    Acquisition programme of works of art from Czechia, Italy, Malta and Slovakia following the Bureau decision from 25 November 2019

    Roberta Metsola

    Roberta Metsola serves as President of the European Parliament since January 2022

  • 2023

    Acquisition programme of works of art from Cyprus, Estonia, Malta, Romania and The Netherlands following the Bureau decision from 25 November 2019