“The map is not the territory” is a phrase coined by the Polish-American philosopher and engineer Alfred Korzybski. He used it to convey the fact that people often confuse models of reality with reality itself. As visual artists, our work is a continuous modelling/depicting/mapping of the various realities which we perceive and within which we live. This is a rich theme for NSA members and we hope that this will produce an exciting and nuanced exhibition.
In my head, maps are wonderful paper objects, made to be poured over. They have symbols, patterns, colour blocks and text with spots for capitals. They represent where land meets sea or other land. They speak of adventure, possibility, wild spaces, towns and cities where other accents are heard and other languages are spoken.
In my mind also, is an association with Empire: where Britain took land over the course of two centuries and four continents. Where acts of violence and immense cruelty were enacted upon peoples across the world. My own story is entwined with one of these countries. I was born to white parents in Kenya in 1971, my father studied languages and was teaching in a mainly Sikh school while my Mother arrived there with him, 6 months pregnant with me, her first child. We lived there for the first 2 years of my life. I wish I could remember it. I look at maps of Kenya and maps of where the many different tribes of that country were originally located and feel huge sadness and anger at their treatment under British rule.
In the 1950’s Britain fought a war in Kenya against a movement that fought for independence from Colonial rule, the so called Mau Mau. Britain used systematic violence and abuses of power to suppress this uprising and successive British governments have attempted to bury the evidence of these abuses. Even now there is a disconnect between what really happened there and how Kenya’s history is viewed by the public and by Historians.
Opening event: Saturday 8 October 2-4pm
Saturday 8 October to Sunday 30 October 2022
11am-4pm (closed Mondays)
Gulval, Penzance TR20 8YL