Dhali Al Mamoon’s ongoing work searches for the self through the narrative of historically contextualised images, with a nod to the existentialism found in the analysis of every work of art. Our appearance, sartorial/material representation, and constructed sense of self carry the legacies of colonisation; history, memory, and flashes of coincidence prime our perception of the world. In free-play work s on paper and canvas, the artist draws in commodities that changed the course of South Asian history under the control of the British East India Company: tea and indigo and spices. Tea and indigo, in both solid and liquid form, correspond to the colours of amber and blue used extensively in the artist’s pallet, evoking a sense of melancholy associated with the history of how these materials were misused to exploit people and lands.
Al Mamoon works with drawings, paintings, kinetic sculptures and installations, addressing issues of knowledge, history and identity. Constructing complex ex periences, he is interested in deconstructing the collective memory of his homeland of Bangladesh. He focuses on the ways in which colonialism de- humanised, exploited and dislocated people from their own land, culture and tradition, separating them from traditional systems of knowledge. Photo: Randhir Singh.
The history of colonialism is objectively the history of despair.