The Split – A Brexit love story
This project guides the audience through a labyrinth of causes leading to Brexit – the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, arguably one of the most dramatic recent political events. It aims to move beyond the headlines and present a more nuanced and complex narrative about polarization and political disruption. Aleksandra from Lithuania works at a factory in England, is a single mom and has just fallen in love. Albert is a retired fisherman, widower and ready for an uproar. They both reside in the same English town but live separate lives. In no other town did more inhabitants vote to leave the EU than in Boston, Lincolnshire. Photographer Line Ørnes Søndergaard and writer Yohan Shanmugaratnam follow Aleksandra, Albert and Boston from the time leading to the referendum and through the following years of turbulence until Brexit was finalised on January 1st, 2021. The Brexit question raised great aggression and deep divisions between neighbors and family members. They had opposing beliefs on what would be the solution to the same problem. The discussion rapidly turned to ridicule each other for their beliefs. In the aftermath, many questions arose. Where did the beliefs of the people come from? What shaped those beliefs? Were they manipulated or controlled? Political discussions about distrust in the ability of the people to make this decision flourished. The Split is a story about borders opening and minds closing, class and identity, about solidarity and distrust – and a love affair initiated in times of disruption.
Line Ørnes Søndergaard (b.1986) is a visual storyteller from Oslo, Norway. Her background is in documentary film and television before she turned to photography, completing her BA in photojournalism at Oslo Metropolitan University in 2015. She is an established editorial photographer, regularly commissioned for portraits and reportage, alongside her long-term personal projects. Søndergaard explores social and political issues, often using intimate encounters as the framework for her photography projects. She tends to focus on the emotional aspect of the situations people find themselves in, looking for resemblance. Her intimate photographic approach has received attention in the photographic landscape and awarded at large. She is a winner of Norwegian Picture of The Year, Picture Of the Year International, The Lucie Foundation and NPPA Best of Photojournalism award. Her work has been widely published and exhibited and is a part of the permanent collection of Preus Museum, Norway.