Interventions: Gallery Reset – Alteration at Ffotogallery, Cardiff

image: from Matter Out Of Place © Audrey Albert

What does it mean to be altered?

Like clothes are altered by a tailor to fit the wearer, so too are the records of history. Fragments of histories crafted, maintained for specific purposes, often silenced. The suppression of histories has shaped ideologies, social systems. The alteration of history has altered the fabric of society.

Interrogating archival photographs and objects that centre a Western history of decolonialisation through alteration, the artists Ffion Denman, Nelly Ating, Audrey Albert, and Ariella Aïsha Azoulay consider the role that galleries and institutions play in the public discourse and interpretation of history. Specifically, the contortion of history regarding the Welsh Patagonia colonisation, the South African Afrikaans occupation, the Chagossian Islands under British colonisation, and the occupation of Palestine by Israeli forces are reinterpreted by the artists in the gallery space. As Conrad (2016) points out, global history aims to come to terms with the connections of the past. Therefore, from image circulation to the use of these material objects, the artists aim to draw from similar historical alteration as a marker that connects levels of distortion.

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