December 10, 2014

“Untitled (3)…[Letter to the sky]”

Project proposal for Iglesia La Merced

On Wednesday, December 17th 2014, I propose to mount a series of metal scaffolds on the facade of the south wall of Iglesia la Merced. The process is intended to last through the day. This site, centrally located in the city, is the place where Santiago de Cali was founded. The church functions as a monument that commemorates the beginning of a colonial moment in Cali’s history — the year 1536, also the same in which the church was built.

Untitled (3) … [Letter to the Sky] is the third work in the Prison Anxieties series I begun in 2011. This project attempts to investigate and open up the emotional stories of violence, death, escape, transition and will for freedom beginning with Ghana’s history of slavery and colonialism. In this particular work i address my own constitution (and construction) of identity as a state in crisis. Owed to my education and cultural experiences, much of the information from which i formulate and shape my cultural identity (as a Ghanaian) begins the narrative from the 19th century; progressing from a British Gold Coast colony to Ghana in 1957 when it became an independent nation. Forming one’s cultural understanding from this violent and torturous moment in history can no doubt be traumatizing for a person seeking solace in the concept of home as a physical location. This trauma permeates first through an individual psyche and then propagates itself within a collective environment.

Scaffolding the wall of the museum/convent/church is a symbolic [re]construction of colonial memories. It is a moment when two cultural histories collide — my own as well as Colombia. The scaffold metaphorically references the weight of history and its role in the formation/production of cultural and national identities.