Dress, sugar, twine, clothes pins.
Installation for Wide Sargasso Sea Exhibition curated by MoCADA for Deutsche Bank.
The stain in Residue embodies the pain and resentment shared by white Creoles and black Jamaicans in a post-emancipated Jamaica in Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea. I soaked an off-white Victorian dress in brown sugar over the course of a few weeks and then washed and stained it again, repeating this cycle several times. Some stains can be washed away. However, some stains are set so heavily that they prevail against any amount of washing or bleaching. What remains is the residue of an inescapable relationship to the history of the material and its relationship to the Caribbean.
Stains are often seen as unwanted marks or blemishes on otherwise pristine fabric. However, the process of trying to remove a stain is in itself an act of mark making. This new mark is often just as damaging as the original stain. Pain can never be washed away, and the more one tries the more it resurfaces itself in the form of anger.
Anger, pain and resentment are based on things that everyone knows, even if they are often topics that are not openly addressed. By pinning the dress to the clothesline, I provide an opportunity for everyone’s dirty laundry to be on display.