The Luxury of Amnesia
‘This allows the Art Establishment to project for a little longer its false rationalised image of itself’—John Berger, Ways of Seeing
John Berger completes Ways of Seeing
before Thatcherism brings racism in from
the cold. In Tim Walker’s 2018 photo of
Duckie Thot for the Pirelli Calendar, Alice
in Wonderland threatens to fill the space and
break through the ceiling of the old property.
John Berger notes that society and culture is
obsessed with property. Speaking of old property,
eg the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, in 2019,
Alberta Whittle floats like one of Bill Traylor’s
duppies haunting the space built by a tobacco
merchant with plantations in the Caribbean—
These hauntings should remind people.
These reminders should heal people.
He says of this poem:
Here are links to the things I’m referring to:
‘Voice has become a new means of introducing themes of memory, history and loss into Alberta Whittle’s films. Moving to the UK from Barbados meant that her understanding of history, which was related to inherited memories of her ancestors and living family, but also from history taught in school was suddenly invalid, erased and invisible in a Western environment. This discomfort with the realization that memory and history do not always intersect motivates her film practice, which aims to encourage a process of decolonization through producing counter narratives, which reveal a state of collective amnesia. Whittle has named this condition, The Luxury of Amnesia, because it describes the ability to forget colonial histories. She considers this viewpoint to emerge from a position of privilege, a luxury.’ – https://www.albertawhittle.com/a-study-in-vocal-intonation.html
Of her installation, A study in vocal intonation, Alberta says: ‘This is a place that happens to be in the centre of Glasgow but is deeply connected to the Caribbean, to different parts of Africa, to the Americas. This is an interlinked history and a reckoning with how we are all situated today.’
Tate Etc. Autumn 2021 – https://www.tate.org.uk/tate-etc/issue-53-autumn-2021/life-between-islands
‘While it is important to emphasise that Henry Tate was not a slave-owner or slave-trader, it is therefore not possible to separate the Tate galleries from the history of colonial slavery from which in part they derive their existence.’ – https://www.tate.org.uk/about-us/history-tate/tate-galleries-and-slavery
‘So I was being invited to be part of a fantasy world that kids of all age and all races grow up with, but so many of them hadn’t seen a likeness of themselves in this kind of story.’ Djimon Hounsou – https://www.elle.com/uk/fashion/news/a39857/pirelli-calendar-2018-black-alice-wonderland/
-Anjum Wasim Dar
Bios And Links
is from Manchester but now living in Wiltshire. Poems in The Honest Ulsterman, IceFloe Press and The Wombwell Rainbow. Poems due to appear in Stand in 2022.