Abdou Kiloh

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

Reds And Blues

Consider contemplating historical narratives. Sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher, watching a movie ‘inspired by real events’, or getting first-hand information from an individual as they recount their journey. What is the importance of knowing these stories: how do they affect you as an individual? How have these events defined or affected society today? What stories have been echoed the loudest and what stories have been buried deeper than one will bury any human? Henry Glassie touches on many aspects of the concept of history as he describes history as; “... not the past but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view, to be useful to the modern traveller”. This phrase holds the significance of history and accounts for the fact that history is created - drawn from a particular point of view. On one hand, this echoes that history is written from a particular perspective, and as Winston Churchill asserted, a victor’s perspective. On the other hand, it points to the usefulness of history as a ‘map’, or a guide to the ‘modern traveller’ or to whomever it benefits.

History holds a primordial position in my practice. Pre-colonial African ideologies and frameworks serve as source material for my conceptual ideas. I draw on forms of knowledge from the pre-colonial era that explore connectivity and correlation between the different spheres of life. A foremost example is the lack of separation between the secular and the sacred. It is reflected in my work through medium, composition and integration of different segments and ideas. This provides a more interconnected framework, a web, upon which my work dwells. In addition, my work recounts tales of slavery and colonial struggles, rewriting and retelling history, while drawing from a personal perspective. This decision becomes a revealing act, bringing to light stories that might have been sidelined throughout the course of history.

“Be careful of the stories you hear, as they might change you in your sleep”.