Message From The Atlantic Passages: Installation of Sou Willamson at Kochin Muziris Biennale
A natural unit of landscape like mountain, has its own special identity. This unique characteristic is partly due to its physical form as well as due to the dynamic process taking place in it . When we watch a mountain a kind of symmetry of space enchants us with sloping banks and the music of breeze under the canopy of the blue sky. American poets Emily Dickinson feels that
“ The mountain sat upon the plain
In his eternal chair……………………..
The season prayed around his knees…..
Grandfather of the days is he
Of Dawn the ancestor …”
installation of bottles and bottles secured with large metal grips around the neck hanging from one bottle
Installation art is an environmental category presentation of three dimensions. Installation works that revolutionarily changed the conception of the space. They are considered as site-specific.. SOU WILLAMSON’S installation work message from the Atlantic passages rocks right through the soul and strikes us with shock and shudder .it Is a strikingly formed installation of bottles and bottles secured with large metal grips around the neck hanging from one bottle from another bottle by thick chains .The thick chains brings to our mind the male African slaves who were chained and shackled with bilboes.Bilboes consisted of two iron shackles locked on a post and were usually fastened around ankles of two men which is mainly used on male slaves who were uprooted from native Africa. These bottles and chains are held hanging In the weight of five sturdy fishing nets while others hang down into the pole of water at the ground level.. each bottle contains traces of earth and it’s engraved information about different slaves their African name their Christian name and included their sex and age. With reference to 12.5 million African of which 10.5 million survived across the middle passage between 1526 and 1866. The work consists of tanks representing 5 specific voyages
“The idea of bottles and nets is based on how people were treated like very cheap commodities”- Sou Willamson
The baggage of the history is found floating above the waters. The floating history may suggest that inhumanity. The running flow of water through the chesters of the bottles and water in the tank enhance the inhumanizing effect of the passage of Atlantic Ocean.
Sou Williamson was born in Lichfield in England and lives in Cape town, South Africa. She is well known, for her creation of installation art, photography and video art. Her work engages the themes related to memory and identity formation. Her earlier works such as Mementos of six out of the ashes,RIP Annie Silling fiercely challenge The South African history.
The movement of African people from the coast of Africa across the America is referred in the work. The process in which two and half million people were removed from their homes they were treated like commodity and tortured. Each bottle make an exact copy of the handwriting of the Clerks who would have written the documents.
The artists liberates this official records from there dusty store rooms into empty bottles. This may focus on the ironic situation where documented history fails to accommodate the suffering endured at the hands who wrote them..
The art form of installation work began to break new grounds in 1970s. The earlier pioneers being Marcel Duchamp and his use of ready made. It is the dissolution of art and life. Both get violently yoked together to manifest hangers and installations that leavespatial and temporal dimensions violently symmetrical..
The installation not only highlight the horrors of the colonial share trade to the end of Aparthied but the restoration of friendly relations in the post apartheid era.The empty bottles manifest a vaccum That haunts the humanity.
The emptiness symbolically feel the viewers mind with the acts of remembering, deep reflective thoughts estimating the past misdeeds sou Williamson has traced adequate information available on forced trafficking of human lives across the ocean between 16th and 17th century and expresses the idea very effectively through her medium.