Commissioned in 1992 by the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol for the Trophies of Empire touring exhibition, Terra was a walk-through world map, consisting of 14 floor-based lightboxes. They showed plants which have been introduced into Europe over the last 500 years as they are in their original habitats. These images were taken from tourist board brochures of ex-European colonies.
A terrarium occupied the territory that is Europe on the map. It contained living specimens of the plants depicted in the lightboxes.Terrariums were used to transport and cultivate plants from different parts of the world, which would not survive outside this micro-climate. They are sealed units, requiring only daylight to keep the plants alive as the oxygen they produce is converted into Co2, and water.
They are visual contradictions – on one hand they present apparently lush growth to the viewer, but at a deeper level they are unhealthy environments which stunt the growth of plants and arrest cross pollination and natural development. As such they are metaphors for fixed ideas and trapped communities – historically through slavery, and within contemporary Europe as ghetto-ised communities with limitations governing their freedom of movement within and without the EU.
Terrarium: a sealed glass container containing living plants
The Trophies of Empire book
The catalogue was an examination of the historical legacies of the British Empire and the impact of these legacies within the contemporary context. It features the Terra project. It involved 3 keys towns as previous trading sites of empire: Liverpool, Bristol and Hull.
The book discusses the projects and commissions in response to empire (notably memory and trade) and the unification of the EU 1992.
Publisher: Bluecoat Gallery. (1994)
Artists: Paul Clarkson, Carole Drake, Nina Edge, Edwina fitzPatrick, Sunil Gupta, Bandele Iyapo, Rita Keegan, Juglinder Lamba, Shaheen Merali, Keith Piper, Donald Rodney, Veena Stephenson.
Texts by: Gilane Tawadros, Katherine Wood, Tessa Jackson, Keith Piper, and the exhibiting artists.
ISBN 0 907738 38 9
Published on the occasion of the exhibition Maps Elsewhere (Beaconsfield, London, 1996), this pocket-sized book is a selection of artists' maps or written texts concerned with mapping. Maps Elsewhere was the result of a collaboration between the combined work of visual artist Jo Stockham and writer Deborah Levy, inIVA and Beaconsfield.
Publisher: Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA).
Featured Artists: Jo Stockham, Deborah Levy, Chris Ofili, Alistair Raphael, Anne Tallentire, Franz Ackermann, Gianfranco Baruchello, Gordon Bennett, Joseph Beuys, Zarina Bhimji, Alighiero Boetti, Carl Cheng, James Corner, Elena del Rivero, Agnes Denes, Rita Donagh, Edwina Fitzpatrick, Stefan Gec, Johnny Gordon Downs, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hiller, Alfredo Jaar, Alistair MacIennan, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Piet Mondrian, Clare Palmier, Simon Patterson, Keith Piper, Pete Smithson, Jem Southam, Turkey Tolston Tjuppurula, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Caroline Wilkinson, Chris Wilson, Johannes Vermeer.
ISBN: 1 899846 07 7
The Sphinx Contemplating Napoleon: Global Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Difference
This collection of essays by Gilane Tawadros, includes the Sweet oblivion essay written by her in the Trophies of Empire catalogue. It is in the Relocating the remains: History and representation section