Their names listed in colonial ledgers as stock inventory are dehumanising chattel words. Who are they, and how do we mourn them?
Lucille Junkere’s entire body of work explores these questions. Her latest offering is a tribute to Africans enslaved to work on Jamaican plantations, whose stories she encounters through her ongoing indigo dye and tropical pigment research. She presents this work, inspired by West African masks, as an alternative to the African Caribbean ritual of pouring rum onto the ground as an offering to spirits and deceased souls.
There are several pieces in the series, each loaded with meaning. They are made from post-consumer waste, discarded objects which have reached the end of their intended life. These include industrial metal fan guards, broken pet cages, rusty hinges and worn sanding discs and grinding plates. Junkere diverts their journey to landfill sites, transforming them with hand-dyed yarns and pigments that she manufactures from plants and minerals. Her colour palette includes indigo, logwood, and fustic; all dye plants formerly cultivated with enslaved labour.