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blank projects: HALF-DEVIL AND HALF-CHILD - 23 Jan 2014 to 22 Feb 2014

Current Exhibition

23 Jan 2014 to 22 Feb 2014

blank projects
113-115 Sir Lowry Road
Cape Town
South Africa
T: +27 21 462 4276
M: +27 72 1989 221

Andrew Gilbert, The Coronation of Shaka Zulu - 1816 (2013)
Watercolour, acrylic and fineliner on paper, 100 x 70 cm

Artists in this exhibition: Andrew Gilbert, Michael MacGarry, Turiya Magadlela, Thembalakhe Prospect Shibase


Andrew Gilbert, Michael MacGarry, Turiya Magadlela and Thembalakhe Prospect Shibase

Opening Thursday 23 January 2014, 18:00
(exhibition closes 22 February)

What is "postcolonial"? It seems to mean so much and nothing all at once. There is an entire field of creative and critical cultural production that is deemed "postcolonial". It has become the label of a body of scholarship that includes work on the Raj in India, customary law in Africa, and Irish nationalism. For some it signifies the end of formal colonial rule and the founding of new nations. For others it represents liminal spaces, where innocence and trauma are neighbours. Still there's an incompleteness to it. A limit to what it can hold of the time and space it wefts together; our now. It is a state of perpetual abeyance. There is no new place at which we may arrive; there is only post-colonial. It is a state of absence.

Our imaginations are engineered through ships, trade routes, beads, cotton, spices, crimes, hate, desperation, faith, conscription, wonder, science. What might a synonym be for such a word, "postcolonial"? Must it come from science or could it be something as elementary as food?
Where I come from we have a soup, callaloo. Often it serves as a sauce. We could call it postcolonial. It is made up of the leaves of the dasheen, okra, pumpkin, coconut milk, and salted pig meat or crab from the sea. The dasheen bush and okra probably came from West Africa. Coconuts arrived in the region around 1750. Salted pigmeat was from the Spanish; it could last well after the pig had been slaughtered, so proved a cheap source of protein for slave labour. A slave food. A poor person's food. It is now integral to a national cuisine.

So, what is "postcolonial"? What is a white cloth wrapped around a Xhosa body? What is a rocket on the verge of flight? Modern, primitive; what do such words mean in the heat of the Algerian Revolution? Neither can encompass the pain and rage of Chinua Achebe on the heels of realizing it was he who was meant by "the horror, the horror". Incomplete, yet brimming.

- Victoria Collis-Buthelezi

"Take up the White Man's burden -
Send forth the best ye bred -
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild -
Your new-caught, sullen peoples
Half-devil and half-child."
from Rudyard Kipling's 'The White Man's Burden'

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