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As Far As My Fingertips Take Me

Tania El Khoury and Basel Zaraa

Basel leans over someone's arm and draws on it
Photo by Tania El Khoury

As Far As My Fingertips Take Me is an encounter through a gallery wall between an audience member and a refugee. Their arms touch without seeing each other.

The refugee will mark the audience by drawing on their arm. The audience will listen to those who have recently challenged border discrimination. The marking can be kept or washed away.

Tania El Khoury commissioned musician and street artist Basel Zaraa who was born a Palestinian refugee in Syria to record a rap song inspired by the journey his sisters made from Damascus to Sweden. Through touch and sound, this intimate encounter explores empathy and whether we need to literally “feel” a refugee in order to understand the effect of border discrimination on peoples’ lives.

Our fingertips facilitate touch and sensations, but are also used by authorities to track many of us. In today’s Europe, a refugee’s journey can be set as far as their fingertips take them. The Dublin Regulation mandated a fingerprinting database across Europe for all refugees and migrants. The regulation often means that a refugee is sent back to where their fingertips where first recorded, without any regard to their needs, desires, or plans.

“His tale doesn’t just touch me in a fleeting way – as the many stories and images reported in the newspapers do – it goes further. It marks me.”

The Guardian

“Both a touching illustrative delicacy and an appeal to the conscience that is impossible to turn away from.”

The Washington Post

For more information on this project, please contact Ania Obolewicz at

One-on-one performance by Tania El Khoury
Performed by Basel Zaraa
Song by Basel Zaraa (vocals, bass and keyboard), with Emily Churchill Zaraa (vocals), Pete Churchill (music production) and Katie Stevens (flute and clarinet)
Commissioned by “On the Move” LIFT 2016 in partnership with Royal Court Theatre, London.

Date Title Venue City
24–29 January 2023 Cultural Exchange Rate The Stamps Gallery University of Michigan
16–28 November 2021 As Far As My Fingertips Take Me Micro Mondes Festival Lyon
17–19 September 2021 As Far As My Fingertips Take Me Internationales Figuren Theater Festival Erlangen
6–10 May 2021 As Far As My Fingertips Take Me auawirleben Theaterfestival Bern, Waisenhausplatz Bern Bern
Basel leans over someone's arm and draws on it
Photo by Tania El Khoury