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SACRED: Homelands Festival 2016 – Wednesday

Photo by Peter Lind

Events run from 6pm. Day tickets £15/£12.50 concessions. The SACRED: Homelands programme contains adult themes and content which may be unsuitable for younger audiences.

GROUP OFFER: 6 tickets can be purchased for the price of 5 both online and via telephone.

>> Go to Thursday

6pm (duration 4 hours) 


Josephine Garcia Jowett (Philippines/New Zealand)

As a child, Jojo's family house burnt to the ground while corrupt firefighters looked on, and only a week later their temporary housing was destroyed by a typhoon. She says “While peeling cardboard boxes piece by piece, I remember seeing my parents picking up our lives every time we experienced disaster. One day I saw the picture of my life in my installation and I cried because I was not able to accomplish my dream. I promised myself that I would continue to look after my parents when they get older, but they died too soon. My artwork is like a scar, a reminder of my past.”

Parabox also plays on the Philippine tradition of Balikbayan boxes ('balik' means 'return' and bayan 'home'). These cardboard boxes are stocked with essential supplies like food and clothing, which are sent to families in the Philippines from relatives who have emigrated and work overseas.

Josephine Jowett is a licensed naval architect and marine engineer, trained in University of Cebu, Philippines. She also has a Bachelor's in Visual Arts from Wellington Institute of Technology, and has been exhibiting in New Zealand since 2007. In 2010 she was presented with the Filipino Achiever Award by the Philippines Charge de 'Affaires.           

supported by Creative New Zealand

6pm (duration 4 hours) 


Shadow Palm Casts
Varsha Nair (India/Thailand)

Dispersed by floating on the seas to reach far-flung places before putting down roots, the Palm is among the first migrants of the world. The leaf of a Talipot Palm, also known as the ‘Shadow Palm’ (Corypha umbraculifera) is traditionally used to record sacred texts and other legends that were once orally passed down the generations. Now it becomes a space to record current realities for the people, their life stories connected with location, relocation, dislocation – the physical, emotional and psychological shifts ­– at times subtle and at times tectonic.

Throughout the performance some of these stories are retold and shared in informal conversations with people who wish to hear them.

Varsha Nair (born Kampala, Uganda) studied Painting at Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda, India. Her work encompasses performance, drawing, installation, video, writing, and organising projects.

7pm (duration 3 hours) 


Last Barometz; Do Not Worry You Will Bleed Water
Nathalie Mba Bikoro (Gabon)

“I am a child of three countries. The water. The heat. The words.” – N. Waheed

Last Barometz; Do Not Worry You Will Bleed Water is based on a Fang tale on immigrant women who have been forced from their homes after being convicted of witchery. They are known as Mami Watas or Land Mermaids. These mermaids have formed refugee communities with new plantations, medicines, technologies and rituals of protection. Their refuge is inside a uranium quarry in south Gabon, which according to archaeological investigations would supply the world’s nuclear energy for over two billion years. Their home sits on natural fissure reactors, which have a direct affect on their diet, their labour and ritual processes.

This community has planted a variety of new crops on abandoned colonial plantations but uranium pollution affects both plants and people as they struggle to adapt to the debris of colonial settlement.

The Barometz is a mythical creature referring to the plantation growth of cotton in the body of the sheep. Its feet and organs are rooted to the earth – umbilical cords that both turn the soil and eat the flesh of animals.

Last Barometz is the after-future adaptation of both nature and mammal on land and a critical reminder to the less visible histories of forced migrations, colonial settlements and industrial exploitations. It is painful historical reminder that as a moving plant, migrating from one place to another, roots are continuously uprooted and seeds left from historical perpetrators must become mythical and magical: we are land mermaids.

Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro’s practice works on the functions of performing archives, contesting the nature of our cultures, histories and identity through de-colonial cannibal aesthetics. Her research is a time-machine, reacting to sense-memory and political landscapes and she creates Human Monuments to spaces and peoples across all nations – new memorials to celebrate post-colonial gestures of freedom.

8pm (duration 1 hour) 


Self-Portrait of Smoke
Elvira Santamaría (Mexico/Ireland)

It is not the first time I’m making a self-portrait of smoke. I turn to it as a symbolic action, to disengage myself from the ‘irremediable’ as the death of loved ones. It is a grief process that passes, mourning in flux; a process of reflection and subjective humanisation but, it is also the formation of an image, a remnant that creates the illusion of a concrete reality.

There are painful situations regarding death, which become a sort of curse, difficult to traverse, especially the atrocious perpetrated death and lack of justice. What to do with it? Live art resorts to its fleeting support, space-time and its poetry of signs and mutant symbols and metaphors. The experience seeks to challenge petrified meanings without referring to specific content. This is an apolitical action, but an ethical and empathic one.


in conversation facilitated by Lois Keidan.

Elvira Santamaría (Mexico/Ireland)

Supported by Arts Council England.


Date and time

23 November 2016

Please note
This is now a past event.


Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London, E1 6AB
Tel: 020 7247 5102
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