Transatlantic Saudades

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When something is born out of such prolonged and sustained degradation of human dignity, can the resulting structures not bear traces of the permeating and pervasive traumas? A question that started forming in my mind a few weeks into my stay in Bahia and has remained with me ever since. And a question as applicable to my home in South Africa as it is to my experience of Brazil.

I explore the breadth and limits of links between myself, my personal lived memories, the communal memories I claim in an African context and the degree to which I can claim a kinship to the communal pool of radicalised memory I encountered in Bahia. This project plays between memories of a personal lived encounter in Bahia, which mirrors my own social positioning in South Africa, in order to create a lapse or slippages between the two space. It becomes a conflation of different experiences of marginality, expressed through specificities of the personal in different contexts.

The idea of memory is used as a vehicle through which to connect the personal experiential with broader historical narratives while at the same time disrupting the historicised cannon of histories that were shaped over centuries on the Atlantic and have come to sit so firmly on my skin.


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