Black Apartheid by Manuel Palacio
HELD OVER DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND : CONTINUES UNTIL SEPTEMBER 20 2011
Studio C - September 1 – 20 2011
Edinburgh Gallery – July 22 to August 9 2011
Black apartheid is about the similarities under a Black Government and its white counterpart; in fact I believe there are no changes with the treatment of “others” – people who look different.
I wonder if Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali or Martin Luther King where white, would I listen to them, would I be a fan, would I emulate? If the current Bermuda Government was white, would we the majority tolerate how the government is being run. If Dr Brown was white, would we be more critical?
Would I find another reason to blame, excuse or defer my responsibility? Would I find another excuse for living “My” life? Or would I sit in polite hate conversation and talk about “them”.
Black Apartheid is a juxtaposition of a myriad of multi-dimensional societal and political issues prevalent in Bermuda today. It captures and conveys, perhaps a quiet yet pervasive sentiment of disillusionment and discontent towards the current state of affairs in Bermuda. Through satire, the show highlights the irony of how two seemingly polar racial perspectives arrive at the same saddened conclusion.
Tough economic times aside, it can be said that black Bermudians have never collectively shared a sense of economic empowerment, particularly under a Government supposedly rooted in the ethos of equity, parity and black economic empowerment. Instead the age old practice of empowering from the top down and from the inside out has continued, resulting in an inability and an unwillingness to empower holistically(?)
Interestingly, at the other end of the spectrum, whites also express feelings of disempowerment and despair, and may at times feels vilified, hated and marginalised. This ironic state of affairs understandably gathers little sympathy from blacks who historically and currently, locally and globally, directly and ancestrally, have suffered and still suffer, collectively, from numerous inequalities and inequities imposed because of their race.
The result is a socio-political atmosphere that is neither subtle nor imagined, where the dispute has at times been derogatory, angry and a contemptuous and the remarks have ranged from irresponsible to disreputable.
This has resulted in a significant level of distrust and disenchantment in a Bermuda that was promised for all.
Where millions of dollars have been spent on celebrations and music festivals, golf course upgrades, capital project overruns and travel, whilst the issues closest to people’s hearts – education, violent crime, unemployment and the ability to take care of one’s family have been rendered bankrupt of funding and priority.
Black Apartheid highlights these issues, and the irony that such distrust and disenchantment is experienced by both blacks and whites, albeit for different reasons, demonstrates that the community as a whole cannot thrive in the absence of peace, harmony and equality.
This show is an expression of internal frustration at consequences being suffered, rather than problems being solved. However Black Apartheid also represents audacious hope. Hope that, whether liked or not, the show will create an impetus for much needed, honest and constructive dialogue. A dialogue that will BRIDGE the disharmony in Bermuda, HEAL the disconnect between the needs and concerns of all Bermuda’s people, and CHALLENGE the priorities, actions and responses of our leaders.
Read Royal Gazette article July 20 2011 here
Read Bermuda Sun Article August 12 2011 here
Read Royal Gazette Article August 6 following “Meet the Artist” discussion
Read comment/review by Charles Zuill on Dame Lois Browne Evans Sculpture in Royal Gazette August 16 2011 here