In the book ‘Lose your Mother’, Saidiya Hartman mentions a tale in which captured and enslaved West Africans were tricked into submission by their captors, after having ‘encircled a tree of forgetfulness’ in a slave port in Ouidah, Benin, during the transatlantic slave trade. The act erased memories of their cultures and homes and made them forget their collective pasts and identities.
In this work, I begin exploring cycles, grief and the trees' abilities of storing memory. I'm looking at the (im)possibilities or difficulties of placing loss, and the importance of private/collective acts of remembrance in our present and future lives.
Materials: honey, found burnt tree branch, twine rope, bowls, white paint
Filmed by Alex Gulino