“The complex issues of current and historical colonization processes are at the core of Kapwani Kiwanga’s artistic practice. Kiwanga, who studied anthropology and comparative religion at McGill University, continues this querying of decolonial gestures with her exhibition Sunlight by Fireside: The Ash Annals.
As part of Sunlight by Fireside: The Ash Annals, Kiwanga chose to create opportunities for dialogue and sharing, inviting viewers to engage with her installation by handling the works in the gallery. By digging a hole on the grounds of the SAAG and moving the displaced soil into the gallery, Kiwanga asks visitors to repatriate the dirt, one bucket at a time.
The ultimate aim of Kiwanga’s work is to help people reflect on the colonial experience as a whole, to explore the gesture of giving and returning in contrast to the dominant learned gesture of taking and seizing. Through the use of materials such as soil, ceramics, cloth, and light and shade, the artist addresses economic and social issues in relation to colonial acts of extraction and the exploitation of natural resources.”