Residency - Within the water in me
Along the shore of memory, what fragments do we find when we look to the sea? They say that which is washed away always return to shore. Yet what of things that were determinedly destroyed? Do they belong to the vastness of the sea? She who provides healing & renewal as well as rage & needed destruction? The sea hides and reveals as needed. Yet what have we done to her?
I look to the waters within me and seek to recreate new life from damaged memories, reliving stories which were taken out to sea to make them real again, in some new form, if not with total accuracy then through the peril of imagining in the way the ocean recreates time & longing.
As part of my residency at Unspoken Words, I’m delving into ideas of imagined-memory as a method of actualising a lost ancestry. While much of my own family history has been shrouded in speculation, the history of my cultural ancestry is well documented through perspectives of subjugation and violent colonialism, perspectives that are continuously upheld by systems of global capitalism, white supremacy & neocolonisation which ravage the world today. These systems are tied directly to the values of surplus at the cost of our environment, and the disenfranchisement of people of colour globally.
A large part of my decolonisation process has been relearning history from a shattered colonial gaze. It takes into account the experiences & struggles of the subaltern and the intersections that create conditions of oppression for particular groups & communities. How these conditions are tied into the destruction of our planet’s natural resources have also been key. In piecing together this history, the realities of my own family history have come into sharp view as missing in clarity. It seems natural that water, as an element of unknown mysteries, has become a crucial way of framing these ideas.
Image: 'Stormy Sea at Night' by Ivan Aivazovsky