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Reform Magazine | November 27, 2020

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Art in focus: March 2019

Art in focus: March 2019

Palimpsest
Doris Salcedo

Then the Lord said to Cain: ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ He said: ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ And the Lord said: ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!’
Genesis 4:9-10

In a quiet room, in a south London gallery, the artist Doris Salcedo presented a powerful memorial to Europe’s migrant crisis and the many who have died trying to flee from Africa or the Middle East over the past 20 years. Beautiful, rectangular stone slabs were inscribed with the names of 300 individuals whose identity and stories Salcedo traced over a five-year period. The indented names were daily spelled out in sand, or droplets of water, slowly fading, only to be renewed by the gallery attendants. The work is entitled Palimpsest, a term for a document that has been overwritten. The presence of the quiet, fluctuating names speaks more powerfully than words of the tragedy of displacement still being played out.

Art in focus is curated by Meryl Doney

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This article was published in the March 2019 edition of Reform

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