Epidermis glistened like a newly-blacked boot (2018)
Gun Powder, Palm Oil, Lemon Juice
“In some parts of the New World, the memory of slavery is deliberately repressed by descendants of African slaves. The tragedy at the origin of the drama that constitutes their existence in the present is constantly denied… this denial is not equivalent to forgetting as such. It is both refusal to acknowledge one’s ancestry and a refusal to remember an act that arouses feelings of shame.”
Achille Mbembe - The Subject of the World
Failure and shame are always at the foundation of these works. The failure of the transatlantic slave trade, the failure of putting these histories back together or the failure in the actions taken to create these works. On the other hand, shame comes along in many forms: the invisibility of afro descendants in Latin American and the Caribbean or existing as a black body. These works have taken shape as video, installations / actions or performances.
I use specific materials to reference history or personal experiences. Some of them, because of their properties and their use, they become easily relatable. I have been utilising palm oil, gold glitter, gunpowder and lemon juice. Palm Oil was exported to Britain to be used in food and soaps but it was also used to cover bruises or marks that slave got right before they were sold.
I cover myself in gunpowder, palm oil and lemon juice and I brush and wipe my skin until my “epidermis glistened like a newly-blacked boot”.