National Identity and Patriotism

GIB50 by Iggy Smalls portrays Gibraltar’s National Day and the post-Brexit landscape of this historical British colony.


Gibraltar, with a current population of roughly 30,000, is one of the most densely fortified and besieged land areas in European history. The 6.7 km2 British Overseas Territory sits on the southern tip of Spain overlooking the strait of Gibraltar, Morocco and the Spanish enclave, Ceuta. English is the official language - though most Gibraltarians also speak Spanish and the local Llanito - and it is considered multicultural with Jewish, Portuguese, Moroccan and Genoese Italians also calling Gibraltar their home.

Gibraltar - or ‘Gib’ or ‘the Rock’ - has been British since 1713, later voting on two referendums - first in 1967 and later in 2002 - over whether to remain with the United Kingdom or unite with Spain. On both occasions the Gibraltarian people voted overwhelmingly in British favour - in 1967, 12,138 voters opted to remain with Britain to only 44 pro-Spanish votes, and 17,000 votes to 187 in 2002.

On 10 September 2017, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and National Day, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to Gibraltar in a recorded video message stating "[…] on that day you made a choice, voting almost unanimously to remain British and it is right that we celebrate that choice today, 50 years on, at a time when Gibraltar and the U.K. are closer than ever before [...] we will resolutely safeguard Gibraltar, its people and its economy and Gibraltar will remain British for as long as it chooses to do so." Mrs. May also referred to recent discussions between the U.K. and Spain surrounding Gibraltar’s status post-Brexit - after 96% of Gibraltarians voted to remain in the EU - and the persistent wish from Spain to reclaim the territory. Gibraltar depends on the 10,000 strong workforce who cross the border back and forth from La Linea every day to work in the stores, cafes and restaurants.

This body of work focuses on the fashion worn on the National Day of Gibraltar and the dramatic landscape of the territory, reflecting upon the permeating feeling of Gibraltarian national identity and what it could be about. This - national identity and patriotism - seem like everlasting but increasingly intense subjects in Gibraltar after Brexit, and indeed all over the world in general.

Words and Pictures by Iggy Smalls.








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Iggy Smalls is a contemporary photographer based in Barcelona, Spain, focusing on concepts of territories and how environments influence feelings of identity. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Photography & Imaging from Ringling College of Art & Design in 2015 and received an Adobe Rising Stars of Photography award in 2017. Her work has been featured in British Journal of Photography, AI-AP, Feature Shoot, Redux, and Der Greif, among others. Follow Iggy on PHmuseum, Twitter, and Instagram.

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This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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