Past and Present

Submitted by Jeeraik009 on Sun, 02/04/2007 - 11:45
It's 2007 and this year we celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the abolition of slavery – that's a long time in the scheme of things, and numerous generations since the Diaspora's African ancestors were forcibly brought to the New World as slaves. Recently, I have been exploring the work of a handful of artists who still refer to the symbols of slavery, the slave ship (Keith Piper), the middle passage (Charles Campbell) the plantation experience (Kara Walker). Along with them, writers like Michel -Rolph Trouillot in his book Silencing the Past (1995), insist that we need to return to western history to understand its gaps and recover a story that no books can tell, that can better define the diaspora personality and present day politics. He claims that history's silences are an indication of the role that power plays in the production of knowledge, and that at best 'history is a story about those who won'. So the question is, how significant is our past when we come to define the present? So many artists and writers seem to shoulder an on-going bitterness about slavery. They represent its pain in a manner that suggests that they are not prepared to let the subject go, but what do you think, Is it time to let go?