- This event has passed.
Bratdevi: Stuck in a Colony
10/12/2022 - 16/01/2023
The latest exhibition in Unicorn Lane is a series of mixed-media works that explore the the impact British colonisation has had across generations around the globe. Bratdevi writes…
“Stuck in the Colony. . . is about living in a cage with an open door. Generations exposed to British rule remain internally confused despite gaining Independence. Celebrating the coloniser’s culture continues the paradoxes between the talk of democracy and lived experience. Can we walk out?”
“There is a complexity that time brings and what it takes too. For some of us, the time dimension of the British colony started since or after Independence and the old stories seem to be something historic and resolved. However, key institutions have outlasted the Independence era because colonisation went over many decades and a few generations. Hence, many do not know what mix could be palatable once the dominating culture blended into a new land and different culture meant for us collectively as a group? Lost in this melee, we see that our institutions such as education, even the high culture and religion have been so influenced before freedom was won – that till today, the children of previously colonised countries are sent to boarding schools back to the land of the coloniser, to maintain these ‘superior’ standards.
In Australia, the number of immigrants coming from former British colonies is increasing. When Hong Kong was handed back, the UK government granted opportunities for rights to residency and Australia followed suit. As migrants, there would be many deja-vu or blind-spot moments since we who have reclaimed our lands and institutional structures as our own again… yet are very familiar with the colonising cutlural ways to find comfort or superior aesthetic values as they were once imposed upon us. However, the Indigenous peoples in this wide country whose lands will always stay settled may never make a rebellion or ‘fighting from under’ possible – who have not had that Independence to reclaim and living mostly urban dwellers. As a former colonised person I can celebrate all the old coloniser’s remnants here but these are not remains, Australia is a current colony, choosing to have the English queen as our queen . . . again.”