My work aspires to articulate languages of decoloniality through inter-textual and inter-textural artistic practices.
My life’s work emerges from a concern for justice and an imperative to heal from colonial pasts. I reimagine and reformulate languages of the self in order to offer “a countermemory, for the future” (Gordon). I explore ancestral loss— as the loss of bodies, histories, cultures, languages, genders, knowledge systems and spiritual practices— in order to rewrite the marginalized and silenced voice in contemporary contexts of global imperialism. I draw from the past to interrupt the present, and offer possibilities of being for the future, as a “reacquisition of power to create one’s own i-mage” (Philip).
The “i” in my work is multiple: It is an i that is descendant of Slaves and Indentured labour, an i that grew up on the plantation island of Mauritius, an i that is economically working-class but culturally middle-class; it is an i filled with queer desires, an i that crosses normative gender lines, an i that grew up in a family of both Hindu and Catholic faith; it is an i that is East-African, South-Asian and in the constant process of becoming Quebecer… The i in my work, then, refuses to be restricted by singularity, it cannot be: My voice is multiple, moving beyond and across definitions, a voice imbued in “complex personhood” (Gordon).
The i in my work is not constrained by the boundaries of disciplinarity or language either. I work in French, English and Kreol and across live performance, literature and the visual arts to shape a multiplicity of aesthetic and political voices which individually and collectively enunciate a decolonial poetics. The act of storytelling expresses itself not only across different media but also in the interstices between these media. These intermedia spaces provide a rich terrain for elaborating “strategies of selfhood— singular and communal— that initiate new signs of identity, and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation” (Bhabha). Through multilingual interdisciplinary practice, I create a range of hybrid spaces that collectively offer a kaleidoscopic view of my subjectivities as they relate to space, time, history, kinship and the body. In the creative act of transgressing genres, locations, tongues and temporalities, I open up a network of interstitial passages to disrupt dominant colonial narratives, epistemologies and pedagogies.
It is across multi-year, archival, educational and community-engaged research that I develop the core of my practice. The storytelling in my work emerges from personal stories, family histories, auto-ethnography, grassroots collective knowledge, archives (both formal and informal), community-based research and critical theory. I am guided first and foremost by the process and the research material itself: I delve into stories and narratives, the ones that are readily accessible to me just as much as the ones which remain relegated to the margins of history. I ground my work in daily acts of ritual (such as repetition, call-and-response, listening, invoking, calling-into-space and calling-into-body) to generate avenues that operate outside of western epistemologies. These, in-turn, become the vessels through which I activate personal, intergenerational, ecological, oceanic, geological and mineral memories. The development of my work is process-oriented: I never set out with an established idea or a completed piece in mind; I allow the process itself, with all of its interstitial spaces, to be the receptacle that supports the emergence of my work.
Critical texts cited:
Bhabha, Homi, The Location of Culture, Routledge (1994, 2006)
Derrida, Jacques, Specters of Marx: The State of Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International, Routledge (1994, 2006)
Gordon, Avery, Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination, University of Minnesota Press (1997, 2008)
Philip, M. NourbeSe, She Tries Her Tongue: her silence softly breaks, Ragweed (1989, 1996)