Earthenware is a video work comprised of six short animations, created as part of my 2016 Impressions residency at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. Each animation works in relation to a specific object in the MMFA’s collections and archives. This project, as with much of my previous work, considers questions of collection and colonization, ‘High Art’ versus ‘craft’, and the histories of the deeply fraught objects in the collection and the sites of their creation. Earthenware finds poetic links between collected objects and diasporic experiences: the way objects are dislocated and dispersed, losing their contextualizing information, then loosely re-assembled into ill-fitting collections that serve to satisfy the categories created by Western consuming
The animations are shown in three pairs: in each pair, one is based on an object from the MMFA’s European collections, and one from the Muslim world. This series draws connections across the categories of anthropological collection, linking the ways that racialized bodies are represented, misrepresented, and reduced to prizes of acquisition like so many trophies. Non-Western methods of cultural production are contrasted as a challenge to the epistemic violence of the categorization of ‘High Art’ and the civilizational esteem that is purportedly entails.