The Scene is the Seen, group exhibition at Holy Rollers Gallery, 2019
Memwar is a French creole word for memory, a language spoken on the remote island nation of Mauritius once known as Ile de France. As the first family member to visit to Mauritius since 1879, I sought ways to trace my family history by linking archival information back to the ‘lieu de memoire’ on this remote island’s geopolitical and emotional landscape. By working from fragmented clues found within archival records, Ile de Memwar manifests as a spectral tableau in memory of people and places that are ‘no longer’. The materiality of ciment fondue, rocks, cast books, video and mixed media refer to the ruins, forts, graves, archives and other sites of memory visited on Mauritius. The installation plays on the contradictory association of the tropical island as idyllic paradise built on the history of forced labour and plantocracy at the outposts of empire. The art works seek to remind us of the ongoing entanglements generated by colonial powers across the oceans such as piracy, war, mass migration, and the ‘long shadow of slavery’.