Whose Memory, Whose Place
Everything comes from a place; all things have their own past. In this work, I paint rocks white to remove their memory, history and connection to place. However, as viewers, we still retrieve some kind of memory to enable us to perceive that this is indeed, a rock. Set in concrete, this “memory” seems resolute.
I do this to understand what amount of our memory is imagined in order to reveal how much of what we believe to be memory is influenced by our peers, family and history. I am questioning belief systems which are politically or domestically propagated down through generations. Beliefs which are held in cement but poorly secured by just one, bending piece of reinforcing steel.
I use the disputed case of African land being painted white, of stones thrown for independence and rights, of something being removed. In terms of memory, whose rock is it now? Who threw the first stone? Whose rock is it believed to be? Today, whose memory is it really?
This piece questions numerous aspects of how memory, influence and imagination are intertwined, and how these are perceived in general. I predict there will by various points of view on this work, as we each have our own concrete “memory” of a rock, a stone to throw and of the land.
The Disconnect of Memory
New research at the Riken-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics suggests that two copies of a single memory are made at once. One as short-term usage, the other as a form of long-term storage. It is proposed that if the short and long-term versions do no liaise, the memory will not last.
These are prints from the same found cut off end of a roll of film. A medium used to great effect to propagate racial segregation in pre-independent Zimbabwe both locally and globally. Judging by the remainders found in the box which contained this negativeless end of film, the previous owner had succumbed to such propaganda.
The work is a comment on race relations and interactions within both colonial and contemporarily independent Zimbabwe. It questions propagation and concealment through photography, and its legacy on collective and individual memories today.
It is also about creating alternative current histories from a single previous history by making new and lasting connections physically, mentally and socially. Essentially, the work is about breaking a prescribed memory.
RG Mugabe Way, Uncensored: A New Way To Look At Dust
“He has built. When he is dead, his hands will remain everywhere.”
This from Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera’s novel, ‘Butterfly Burning’ shifted my enquiry into memory’s dubious relationship with photography to that of the instilled memory of a building or structure, and in this case; a carcass of a business or home - a life. Along R G Mugabe Way, I collected these remnants of lost hopes: broken bricks, cracked windows, blistered mortar - the dust of 37 years of sledgehammer rule that was Mugabe.
With a tight grip on media and photography in particular, I feel it necessary to present these vestiges in a way that reflects this veil. With an emphasis on photographic elements I have created a “cinema” for the viewing of these found memories. The only true “photographs” of Mugabe’s reign.
The relevance of scaffolding, is that of building a new future together whilst portraying the past in full transparency. Displaying these pieces as a kind of museum - a foundation of learning.
This work is intended to portray an alternative way, to photography, of remembering and with this, a stronger way forward. We must remember as we build, our hands will remain everywhere.