Hills day #1: looking down at trains that never came
Australia’s dark colonial past and present which it still pretends doesn’t exist. It pains me that my settlerhood implies complicity, too.
108 by Tony Albert
2011-2013; 99 mixed media collages and 9 houses of cards dimensions variable
Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia
Gazing at horses on a lovely day
River Torrens Linear Park Trail
Henley Beach SA
"Colonisation and displacement have created cultural amnesia."
Amazing sign typography & design spotted in Georgetown, Malaysia
Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
this is what anxiety feels like
Emptiness is a field, multiple cathodes jostling for space in the treasure hunt that is your mind. I am wading knee-deep in mud—the mud that is there and not-there; in another realm, for someone else it is water, graceful and sleek. I am neck-deep. Water is terrifying anyway, my navigation laboured yet painless. Final destination is that I keep afloat, and then I win (maybe not). I am competing against myself, seemingly with others but there’s no one else here except me. There is no destination, no ending: just endless fields of mud and water multiplied tenfold; I traverse to a point where I forget about the motions, and then I die. This is not the end.
"Like all identity markers they are shorthands we have been prescribed to halt conversation: we can retreat into our identities like we retreat into our apartments not asking how and why we got there, who we gentrified to get there, not being able to have a conversation about how this place will never fit all of our idiosyncrasies."
"Others have referred to this unique perspective of women of colour as a third gender category, multiple consciousness, triple jeopardy, oppositional consciousness, mestiza and borderlands, a bridge, a crossroads and interstitial feminism. I liken this position to a kind of belonging and not belonging, a ‘both/and’ orientation that allows women of colour to be members of a particular group (of colour, women) and at the same time stand apart from it as the ‘outsider within’. Hurtado calls it a shifting consciousness […], the ability of many women of colour to shift from one group’s perception of social reality to another and at times, to be able simultaneously to perceive multiple social realities without losing their sense of self-coherence. This position, in turn, creates a specific relationship to knowledge and knowledge production. It is informed by knowledge that expresses and validates oppression, while, at the same time, it also documents and encourages resistance to oppression. This places women of colour in a unique position to document ‘the maneuvers necessary to obtain and generate knowledge: [a] unique knowledge that can be gleaned from the interstices of multiple and stigmatized social identities’. Theory itself comes to be questioned, partly as a challenge to the apparatus and institutions of theory-making that silence the perspective of women of colour and partly as a way of connecting to their communities of origin, which are in many instances working class and non-academic. Feminist writing by women of colour is different in style and content. For example, there is a mixing of different genres such as poetry, critical essays, short stories, letters, memoirs, and the production of knowledge itself is less tied to the academy. The call is to create theory that uses ‘race, class, gender, and ethnicity as categories of analysis, theories that cross borders [and] blur boundaries — new kinds of theories with new theorizing methods."
on the road away and at home
The question “Where are you from?” is largely fraught: in Singapore, it is received as a source of pride, a forced alienation derived from a desire to disassociate; in Australia, it is alienating—implying a cultural failure on my part to assimilate; elsewhere, nothing I say feels like a truth, as I grasp to understand the construction of borders and therein, the constructed desire to delineate geographical lines based on what people look like.
It’s fascinating looking at representations of Africans in Chinese CCP propaganda from the 60s and early 70s. During this time period, China saw itself standing in solidarity in a class struggle with POC in Africa, Asia and Latin America against white-led American and European imperialism. The CCP also saw itself as having led a revolution which could be modeled by the peoples of these nations. Representations of Africa in the propaganda of this era therefore show tremendous camaraderie and brotherhood, presenting a united front against Western imperialism and colonization.
At the same time, though, these images are also steeped in a deep sense of racialized paternalism, which the last image, “Saviour” speaks tremendously to as well. This was due in part to the fact that the CCP’s revolution came earlier and was therefore the model revolution which they were “teaching” to Africans, but it also played directly upon antiblack stereotypes of African people as explicitly primitive (see the poster in which the “silver needle of friendship” is passed) and requiring the stewardship of the Chinese CCP in their march toward freedom in their own countries. The paternalism evident in the “friendship” is clear and plays into these racist, demeaning tropes, raising up a Chinese (rather than white) savior for African peoples in the face of Mao ZeDong.
These images are therefore interesting in the ways they evoke a sense of global POC solidarity against white-led imperialist forces from America and Europe, portray African leaders in a positive and noble light, generally work to show brotherhood between Chinese and African peoples, but then also plays to racist tropes like the “noble savage” trope and positions Africans and other POC in the developing world in solidarity but ultimately under Chinese CCP stewardship with a Chinese savior (Mao ZeDong) who “gets” their struggle, rather than a white one— but still a demeaning, paternalistic savior nonetheless.
Very interesting images to examine, especially for those interested in the history of relationships between Africans and Chinese people, and all of this come courtesy of chineseposters.net’s amazing article “Foreign Friends: African Friends.”
Best bin haul for months, some highlights include lots of brie and hummus and garlic bread. Made a delicious breakfast the next day, made entirely from bin finds. I am bin queen.
A simple salad for dinner: made up of diced cucumber & capsicum, spinach, grilled carrot, pine nuts, and grated cheese tossed in olive oil and cracked black pepper.