2019-2020, watercolour and gouache on handmade wasli paper, 88x63cm
‘And words are whispered’ acknowledges the history and experiences of women taken from India to South Africa as indentured labourers during the late 1800’s and throughout the early 1900’s. Simpson reframes the ownership of this history and pays tribute to the ghosts of forgotten women who were sent out across those dark waters.
Traditionally Miniature painting within South Asia focuses on privileged persons both in terms of gender, caste, class and colourism. Simpson’s use the style of Miniature painting centres casteless Coolie women bringing their history onto the page and allowing their history to be accounted for. ‘And words are whispered’ continues this investigation by erasing all traces of environments. In this act audiences are critically asked to think about these women, and where their place exists in the archive? In centering these stories Simpson asks the archive to account for her family’s history.
This work was produced during residence at 1Shanthiroad Studio/Gallery and was supported through Asialink Arts 2019Creative Exchange and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.