In Phase I, Engaging Entrapment, I explored my mental entrapment with Kenya’s colonial past in relationship with my father and siblings. My father (b. 1936) struggled with growing up under colonial circumstances and the contrasts he faced living in Germany for twenty years, returning to his homeland in 1978. His struggles with his own multiple identities are issues his children also face. I was confronting the internal cage within me through my personal experiences from childhood. The installation which housed the performance was constructed with barbed wire and a vinyl collage of protectorate maps of East Africa between 1950 and 1952, beach sand, red wool, broken mirror pieces and three figures in foetal position: symbolizing myself and my siblings.
In a private performance I engaged with the three figures and take down the installation structure. I removed myself and my siblings from the “entrapment” breaking down the fragmented hanging mirrors in a symbolic gesture confronting our collective history and it’s effects on our identity. During the last phase of the project titled Release, located along the Indian Ocean on Bofa beach, I cremated the three figures sending them out to sea on small wooden rafts. I found it important to fully liberate the figures, to be able to go beyond the colonial history, beyond my personal history.
TThe original installation WoMen, Fräulein Damsel & Me / Phase I: Engaging Entrapment was shown at the Goethe-Institut Nairobi, Kenya in 2008 for my solo exhibition titled Gender, Power and the Past
Installation & Performance
Phase I: Engaging
Phase II: Entrapment
Release (2007 – 2009)
The Godown Art Centre
Nairobi - KENYA