Subconsciously I think Edith Roux’s work has inspired and informed my Unceded Territory project (A3). A fellow student passed along her name to me quite a few months ago and I remember looking at this work but pushing it into the recesses of my mind as it didn’t really tie in with the assignment that I was working on at that time.
Although the work may seem rather similar, Roux has used old post cards and physically montaged her colonial figures onto her photographs, while my work is all digital. The cutouts maintain their original graininess and lend a further ambiguity to the scene. Her cutouts are very strategically placed and one has to look carefully to find the colonial figures – that is, once the realisation sets in that there is a ghost from the past in each image. Because she is using a rather pastel palette, this realisation only really kicks in when certain discontinuities become apparent – three people walking in the street and only two are reflected in the pool of water; a lady walks down a dusty street sans a shadow; all people walking in the image are caught in a motion blur, except one. In Roux’s Les fantomes de Bassam, she is referencing the overlying colonial history of Grand Bassam in the Ivory Coast, but at the same time maintains a balance between fact and fiction. Doubt pervades the meaning of the image and she challenges our perceptions of place and history. A sinister sensation of an ever watchful eye of the colonial master(s) threads its way through her images.
Roux, E. (2016) Les fantomes de Bassam. At: http://www.edithroux.fr/works/bassam/index.php (Accessed 20/11/2019).