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Laura Facey Cooper | DE HANGIN OF PHIBBAH AN HER PRIVATE PARTS AN DE BONE YARD

DE HANGIN OF PHIBBAH AN HER PRIVATE PARTS AN DE BONE YARD, detail.
Laura Facey Cooper
Jamaïque
16 x 20 pieds,
Installation. Cedar, rope,
2012

This installation is based on the main components of a set of original prints commissioned by Small Axe for a project entitled « The Visual Life of Catastrophic History » with funding provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The prints are to be published in Small Axe, March 2013 and are confidential until that time. However, permission has been granted for the creation of this installation.

‘I am a thought without limitation
for I am ever expanding into formlessness.
There is no form that can contain me.
I have joined with God in perfect forgiveness.
I am free of guilt.
I am free of grievances.
I do not believe that I can be wronged,
nor do I believe that I have the power to wrong another.
For I know, without doubt,
that every being has equality’.
Paul Ferrini

Abstract for the images titled WEEPING IN THE BLOOD – A Visual Memory Of Catastrophic History

Though the images appear linear, they are in fact a circle beginning with the stained Atlantic Ocean. Thereafter enters the African spirit, marked with the patterns of their heritage before The Dark absorbs them. Phibbah is hung – a metaphor for the atrocities. Her genitals are exposed calling attention to the damage done to women. The phallic bones in Bone Yard wag, flaunting their masculine power, but death, burial and the end/beginning are part of the journey. From the ashes of the Phoenix we leap into life and go home. Laura Facey, 18 October 2012

« I live on the land… I see and feel the effects of that trauma everyday….I want my work to empower…to liberate…. »Laura Facey 2012

Commissions are rarely easy. They often require empathy for a vision not always our own. With Weeping in the Blood (2012) a commission for Small Axe, Laura Facey has squared up to that need, in ways that move beyond earlier assignments such as Redemption Song (2003). This time, Laura has done the intellectual and emotional work required to justify her creative license. We see this, not only in her emblematic referencing of other art works such as William Blake’s A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows,[1] Joscelyn Gardner’s Phibbah or Christopher Clare’s shoal of survivors from the Brookes slave ship diagrams, but also through the process of self-study and recognition of personal trauma that (re)connects her to history. Laura finds her place in the catastrophe of slavery through an exploration of her womanhood, violence and bloodlines. With an acute understanding of the menacing and destructive power of masculine energy, she offers a new world tale of suicide and survival, placing female suffering at its center. Employing the intense process of block printing, she carves a narrative that reveals the sanguine connection between our land of wood and water: one where backdrops are viscous and where bodies transform and adapt to their new environs. Her panels, though small, tell an epic story of forced migration, of battling against tides that pull us deeper into maroon eddies of suffering. Like the grains in wood, Laura reveals the pain etched into our DNA and she reforms these patterns of resistance birthed in bloodied seas. As our bodies strengthen and breathe, we become open-hearted amphibians swimming for sanctuary into waters of light. Dr. Petrine Archer, October 2012.

[1] , William Blake’s famous anti-slavery engraving. Collection: Harvard University Press

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Laura Facey Cooper | DE HANGIN OF PHIBBAH AN HER PRIVATE PARTS AN DE BONE YARD

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Laura Facey Cooper | DE HANGIN OF PHIBBAH AN HER PRIVATE PARTS AN DE BONE YARD

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Laura Facey Cooper | DE HANGIN OF PHIBBAH AN HER PRIVATE PARTS AN DE BONE YARD

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