“Modern man does not understand how much his “rationalism … has put him at the mercy of the psychic “underworld”. He has freed himself from “superstition” (or so he believes), but in the process he has lost his spiritual values to a positively dangerous degree. His moral and spiritual tradition has been disintegrated, and he is now paying the price for this break-up in world-wide disorientation and dissociation. ~Carl Jung”—(via myencephalonjourneys)
It seems to me that the artist has created something that has symbolic resonances far beyond what he imagined or intended. His own explanation of his work is that the piece is part of a project exploring Black identity, and that female circumcision is seen as a Black issue and he wanted to make a point that oppression takes many forms. This explanation demonstrates the poor understanding he has of the powerful symbolism his piece unleashes. At best, his explanation is confused and naïve.
Watching a short video of the piece I found it both repulsive and incendiary. Yet the disturbing and provocative nature of the work has nothing to do with what Linde thinks his intention is. What almost everyone – except the artist and those present who ate the cake and laughed and took photos – sees is White people laughing and joking as they symbolically mutilate and devour a hideous blackface caricature of a Black woman as ‘she’ screams in pain and terror. If the piece shows us anything, then, it reveals the capacity of Whiteness to be able to inflict terror on people (especially women) of colour while remaining blissfully oblivious to the consequences of its actions. It reminded me of Nazi indifference to concentration camp victims, or those sociological experiments where people willingly follow the directions of authority figures and ‘electrocute’ people on command (who are actually actors pretending to scream in pain). I am deeply disturbed that no-one present appeared to see any other symbolic reality other than their own construction: “It’s an art event. What fun!” Didn’t anyone in the room feel uncomfortable?
Unwittingly, the artist has held up a mirror to Whiteness and its blind disregard for the humanity of those it has Othered. And that is what makes the piece so horrifying.
“A child can always teach an adult three things:
To be happy for no reason,
To always be busy with something,
And to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.”—Paulo Coelho (via nirvikalpa)
The Mangrove Nine features the aftermath of a Notting Hill protest against Police Harassment which culminated in the arrest of nine people including a young Darcus Howe and a headline case at the Old Bailey.
It’s a story of conflict between the police and the black community in Notting Hill at the start of the 1970s. The central incident of the Mangrove affair took place when a deputation of 150 black people protested against long-term police harassment of the popular Mangrove Restaurant in Ladbroke Grove.
The protest policed by 500 police and a plain clothes police photographer later led to nine arrests and 29 charges. The nine were Barbara Beese, Rupert Boyce, Frank Crichlow, Rhodan Gordon, Darcus Howe, Anthony Innis, Althea Lecointe Jones, Rothwell Kentish, and Godfrey Millett.
The charges ranged from making an affray, incitement to riot, assaulting a policeman, to having an offensive weapon. 22 of the charges against the nine were dismissed including all the serious ones. Only seven minor counts were found proven. The high profile trial at the Old Bailey lasted for two months finishing in December 1971 with five of the defendants being completely acquitted.
The case made English legal history when it delivered the first judicial acknowledgement of “evidence of racial hatred” in the Metropolitan Police. The Assistant Commissioner of the Met tried to have this statement by the presiding judge withdrawn, to no avail.
Incredible film about black Pacific islanders who took on mining corporations destroying their land. They were subjected to brutal sanctions (a de facto siege) that cut them off from access to fuel, food provisions, oil, gas etc. The islanders developed their own medicines, their own generators, their own fuel sources etc. All of it synthesised from coconuts. Yes, that’s right. Coconuts. Self-belief, self-sufficiency, community and inspiration was all they needed.