2022, sugarcane ash, 70 x 70cm (approx.)
“Kāla (2022) reflects on the traditional Tamil women’s artform kōlam—a daily practice of drawing designs in rice flour in the home. Symmetrical geometric line drawings sit at the threshold between inside and outside—welcoming visitors and attracting prosperity.
Kāla reconstructs the kōlam with the ash of sugarcane—replacing the medium of rice flour, a source of nourishment with burnt notes of loss, violence and trauma. The kōlam—drawn at the beginning of the exhibition—moves from geometric symmetry to a muddle of black dust as visitors travel across the threshold into the gallery. The traditional practice of daily renewal is replaced with the work’s process of decay.
The work speaks to the history of the sugar industry and its dark history of labour exploitation—those of women taken from their homes and family, and the ongoing traces of loss felt by this history. It also references Édouard Glissant’s own connections to place, in Martinique, the Caribbean where the sugar industry was fuelled by slavery and later indentured labour.” – This language that is every stone, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2022)