Roshini Kempadoo creates artworks that interpret and re-imagine contemporary and historical experiences of the particular and everyday. She evokes women’s perspectives through fictional writings, photographs, recordings, music, interactivity and networked environments. She evokes situated representations of what is often less visible, underrepresented or unsaid.
"With 20 years between one artwork and the other, curator Sylvia Theuri invited me to contribute a selection of photographs from two projects for Thirteen Ways Of Looking.
Virtual Exiles (2000) was conceived as an internet site, photographic print and text artwork commissioned as a touring show that went to international art venues including: Port-of-Spain, Ljubljana and Street Level Gallery, Glasgow.
I am in touch with secondary school friends, family and others in Guyana and those, like me who had left Guyana (my parent’s homeland) to settle in another. There are nearly always reasons to leave a homeland that in the end does not protect us – leaving the violence and politics for a better education, for fear of being harmed, for the possibility of a job, for fear of persecution. Beyond the aftermath and legacy of British colonialism there is the persistent yearning to be Guyanese – virtually and remotely, to remember collectively – the seawall, backdam, roti, metem and casareep for pepperpot on boxing day. Edward Said’s seminal text Reflections on Exile (1984) resonated and echoed while archives on Guyana in British collections appeared despicable at times or at complete odds with my memory and recollection. I returned to Guyana to create photographs, gather family albums images, research archives and texts, read novels by Caribbean authors (David Dabydeen, Pauline Melville) and connect with friends online abroad, elsewhere.
(Image: Roshini Kempadoo)
A selection from the series I created during these months of confinement, Mooove[s] - In solidarity (2020), was a response to online consciousness as debate, activism and artworks about black lives, violence and racism were circulated by an international mostly younger generation. Some of us as protestors of Thatcher’s Britain, are watching remotely and keeping ‘wide awake’ to the shifts and changes brought about by black activists. This is my homage and act of solidarity to those of us who are making efforts to bring about change: from the late Kamau Brathwaite’s influential and revolutionary writings; as black women artists - 100 years 100 women; Angela Davis’ and others with their ever present calls for justice; for free black universities; and our longing for the right to life, fair elections, to politician and political change. Mooove[s] – In solidarity is a perpetual work in progress."
(Image: Roshini Kempadoo)
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