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Bridget Baker, The Remains of the Father – Chapter n.2

Map of Lemuria

a project promoted by Nosadella.due – Independent Residency for Public Art (Bologna)
in collaboration with Nomas Foundation (Rome), and Isole (Palermo)

April 2014

April 2014 marks the beginning of the second chapter of The Remains of the Father, a research based and artistic project by the South African artist Bridget Baker focusing on Italian colonial history and the subsequent implications in current times.
This second chapter of the project, following last years' release of her film The Release of the Father, consists of a preparatory and exploratory residency period between Rome and Palermo. The residency is promoted by Nosadella.due Independent Residency for Public Art, Bologna, in collaboration with Nomas Foundation, Rome and Progetto Isole, Palermo.
In October 2012 Baker developed the first part of a trilogy of an artist-film, The Remains of the Father – Fragments of a Trilogy (Transhumance) (2012, 24’), the result of a residency period in Bologna. Realised after various explorations of Italy's archives and libraries, meetings with historians, cinema experts, psychologists, sociologists, architects and exponents of eritrean community in Italy. The final work, presented and acquired in the collection by MAMbo-Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna (October 25th, 2012 - January 6th, 2013), reveals the complexity of the historic reconstruction starting from the case of a Bolognese couple Giovanni Ellero and Maria Pia Pezzoli (using the materials recovered in their personal archives – now conserved at the Department of History, Anthropology and Geography at the University of Bologna and in the Archiginnasio Civic Library) who lived in Italian East Africa during Ellero’s employment as a clerk for the Ministry of Italian Africa between 1936 and 1941.
The second chapter of the research is directed to investigate the deposition of an imagination that has been building on the African territories colonized by the fascist regime. Thanks to the collaboration with the Foundation Nomas and Isole that will host the artist for a short residency program, guiding her through archival research, putting her in contact with experts and people of the place. This preliminary observation will inspire the artist to create the second chapter of the trilogy video.
The exterior gaze of Bridget Baker will arise therefore in connection with the gaze that, over time, Italians have turned to Africa, creating a link between the colonial period and the present. The contact and comparison with otherness, as opposed to the certainty of a story handed down and written, will be the theme of the whole experience. The idea of border and natural coastline that marks the threshold of a transition to another dimension, as real as that of the island, crossed by history, people, goods and cultures, will be counterbalanced by the idea of the utopian island or the disappeared island.

Bridget Baker (East London-South Africa, 1971) is a South African artist who has for years studied historic and historiographical material using sources as the vehicle for value and potential imagination with particular attention to women’s views, female experience in history and in those untold stories in which the woman is often the narrator. She lives in London and has participated in major collective exhibitions at the Museum of African Art (NYC), the South African National Gallery (Cape Town), the Centro des Artes Contemporanea (Burgos), the Palazzo delle Papesse (Siena), the Neue Berliner Kunstverein (Germany), The Wapping Project (London), and has also taken part in the second edition of the Johannesburg Biennale (Cape Town) and Oberhausen Film Festival (Germany).