Nostrum (2015)

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Nostrum(2015)

Found bottles, toenails, dirt, hair, salt, vinegar

Dimensions variable

 

Installed at Doongalik Studios in May 2015 as part of the Transforming Spaces 2015 series of exhibitions. Exhibition curated by Holly Bynoe and Pam Burnside.

 

Nostrum (2015) serves an investigation into the marginalisation and taboo of Obeah culture in the Bahamas. I ask that the local viewer reconsider their own ties and fondness for Christianity (the nation’s major religion, which is oft so proudly proclaimed at any given opportunity) and its colonial origins and look to what particulars account for the uneasy way in which we view the West-African tradition (from which much of our popular use of ‘bush medicine’ originates) that came over with our slave ancestors. In a country still suffering the aftershocks in the public psyche left from colonialism and slavery, perhaps it is time to reassess the ways in which we regard and process those traditions which have endured and our affinity with them.

Further, the context in which this work was installed, namely: the restored edifice of the British High Commissioner, was also considered. It is a historic building, a colonial building, and the work exists as an act of Obeah (constitutionally illegal – albeit somewhat archaically – despite its continued practice in the Bahamas) directly alongside the building, facing the building’s opening.

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