Sierra Leone/Jamaica | A Mythology of Memory — Photo Essay by Berette Macaulay

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

Gertrud©SeBiArt06Aunt Gertrud Kretzchmar (Tante Trude). Beskyden, Czech Republic, 2009. © Berette Macaulay.

BY BERETTE MACAULAY | THE IMMIGRANT ISSUE | SPRING, 2014

Though I will be a stranger in my land of origin, the importance of this journey is to bridge the gaps in my identity and my parents’ painful sabotage of identity. I want to know them in the historical and current political context of Sierra Leone; I want to know our story stripped of myth.


Berette MacaulayMy understanding of the world is richly influenced by my mixed cultural background — I was born in Sierra Leone to my Sierra Leoneon father and multi-racial mother of Czech-German, Dominican-French-Creole, and Sierra Leoneon heritage. I was raised in Jamaica and the United Kingdom, and I’m now based in the United States. But my creative motivation stems from constant internal and external psychosocial negotiations of identity. It is no exaggeration to state that almost daily when I open my mouth to speak, my non-descript accent creates immediate demands for explanation—whether locally or on my travels.

In my work, I seek to express, however unfamiliar or uncomfortable, the near untenable navigations of class, race, culture, spirituality, language, and secular stratum. I am drawn to investigating Memory and exposing the introspective emotional language of this through conceptual portraiture.

The portraits featured here in A Mythology of Memory* are from a genealogical study rooted in my own multicultural/immigrant experience. My interest in investigating family roots developed when my father died in 2006. I began to confront the Myth of the Man, the stories around how my family ended up in Jamaica, how my parents fled Sierra Leone for their lives, our hero worship of my father, and thus the Myth of Myself.

My parents, Berthan Macaulay Q.C. and Margarette May Macaulay, LLB at the Commonwealth Law Conference, Lagos, Nigeria, 1980.

My parents, Berthan Macaulay Q.C. and Margarette May Macaulay, LLB at the Commonwealth Law Conference, Lagos, Nigeria, 1980.

My father, Berthan Macaulay Q.C. was appointed the first indigenous Attorney-General of Sierra Leone in 1963, shortly after the country’s independence from Britain in 1961.  During this time my mother, Margarette May, was a law student and living in London. My parents had a short albeit long distance courtship of love between Britain and Sierra Leone during 1966. They wed in London in February, 1967 and within 24 hours my mother accompanied my father to Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Within a short time after their arrival, a series of political events and upheavals occurred. There was an ongoing election, during which an attempt was made to appoint a Prime Minister before the conclusion of the election. My father’s legal opinion was sought by the Governor General as to the constitutionality of such an appointment. His opinion was that it would be unconstitutional. There followed a declaration of martial law, followed by coups and counter coups.

Shortly after the assumption of power by the army government, my father resigned as Attorney General and returned to private practice. In 1968 my father was charged, along with other high officials of the previously elected government, with treason. The case against my father was that he had given a dishonest legal opinion to the Governor General. He was imprisoned for three years and nine months in the Pademba Road Prison in Freetown. He was 39 years old. During his imprisonment, Sierra Leone had become a one party state under the All People’s Congress (APC). After his release (due to pressures from Britain and other commonwealth countries, including Jamaica), my parents endured several death threats and attempts  on my father’s life. In February 1974, shortly after I was born, my parents left Sierra Leone for the far and culturally foreign island of Jamaica. Their midlife start in the Caribbean is wholly the staff of how I experience life—in flight, uncommitted, exiled, and in search.

 

Marie©SeBiArt04Aunt Marie Lomas. Beskeyden, Czech Republic, 2009. © Berette Macaulay

.

Adelaide©SeBiArt03Aunt Adelaide Dworzak-Whest. Ebenstein, Austria, 2009. © Berette Macaulay

.

While slowly uncovering stories of my father through recorded interviews, the opportunity to travel on a maternal family reunion came up. The development of A Mythology of Memory began in 2009 on a West African/Czech German family reunion in Beskyden, Czech Republic and Ebenstein on the Austrian/German border. It is comprised of 26 portraits of members of my maternal family and acquired materials showing an intercultural family history dating back to the 1700s. Traveling together from our homes in four continents/regions (West Africa, Europe, United States, and the Caribbean), we attracted the interest of the Sudetan Scholar Society, and a documentary filmmaker who accompanied us. The journey was later featured on Czech Republic TV. This portrait work, which I originally titled Neue Rootz, continued in September 2013 into Nürnberg, Germany and Klimkovice, Czech Republic with my mother who was unable to attend the original reunion journey in 2009. This journey gave me a better template to develop the story of my parents’ dramatic departure from Sierra Leone.

Few in my immediate family live in our birth countries or where we were raised, including myself. This results in easy social adaptations; yet, we also experience constant cultural disparities. We are nomadic in where we reside, our chosen professions, and in how we love. We constantly negotiate cultural contradictions, navigate dissonant social circumstances, and often have to explain unlikely duo-realities, like being part African and part German. This often becomes a  strange cultural marriage to explain and defend.

 

Hanna©SeBiArt05Cousin Hanna Pietzcker.  Ebenstein, Austria, 2009. © Berette Macaulay

.

Bernadine©SeBiArt01Sister Bernadine Simpson. Beskyden, Czech Republic, 2009. © Berette Macaulay

.

Eva©SeBiArt03Cousin Eva Pietzcker. Ebenstein, Austria, 2009. © Berette Macaulay

 

In the future, I will travel to Sierra Leone to document more of my family’s story. I understand the inevitability of retracing our personal middle passages by traveling back to the once troubled nation, Sierra Leone, that is my birth land, and to do so in its current moment of redevelopment since the Blood Diamond civil war of the 1990s.

Though I will be a stranger in my land of origin, the importance of this journey is to bridge the gaps in my identity and my parents’ painful sabotage of identity. I want to know them in the historical and current political context of Sierra Leone; I want to know our story stripped of myth. I want to uproot forgotten details of their journey that hold familiar contemporary markers for immigrants now.

I will use the camera to subjectively examine personal heritage for my own understanding of ‘self.’ My work, I hope, will function as a conceptual language for how all immigrant families seek and work to assuage dissonant histories and how they strive to create conscious agency in the evolution of culture for younger generations.

*Selections from the Mythology of Memory series were chosen for CCNY National Jury in 2012 and shown at the National Gallery of Jamaica 2010 Biennial.

 

Me -bw- at PowerHouseBooks by J Quazi Babatunde King on FOLORUNSHO fb pageBerette Macaulay is an award-winning artist born in Sierra Leone of West African/French- Dominican/German-Czech descent. She was raised in Jamaica and the UK, and is now based in the US. Her creative background is in the performing arts as an actor, dancer, theater technician, and writer. She has created, published, and exhibited works in Costa Rica, Germany, Hong Kong, Jamaica, UK, and around the US. She works primarily in photo-based mixed media and installation using digital, alternative, and analog work processes. She works collaboratively on interdisciplinary projects with performers, choreographers, filmmakers, and writers. She also works under the name SeBiArt. Twitter: @SeBiArt

 

 

 

giveonlinebutton

OF NOTE Magazine is free to readers, free of advertising, and free of subscriptions—all made possible by generous supporters like you. Your tax tax-deductible gift will help us continue to feature innovative and emerging global artists using the arts as tools for social change. OF NOTE Magazine is a fiscally sponsored organization of the New York Foundation for the Arts, a 501 (c) (3), tax-exempt organization. All donations are 100% tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 0 Flares ×

Comments

26,590 Responses to “Sierra Leone/Jamaica | A Mythology of Memory — Photo Essay by Berette Macaulay”
  1. Ismael says:

    Will I get travelling expenses? http://pornmd.in.net/ pornmdcom “Today we have disappointing news,” Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a news conference about the study. “We're missing opportunities to give HPV vaccine, and that needs to change to protect girls from cervical cancer,” Frieden said.

  2. Keenan says:

    A book of First Class stamps medstrength.net The BOJ kept monetary policy steady and held off on revisingup its assessment of the economy on Thursday, opting to wait formore clues on whether the increasingly positive mood willencourage companies to ramp up spending.

  3. Jules says:

    Do you like it here? estrace cost cream mp3 I was checking in with the Reuters picture desk in Toronto about some of my images when an editor asked if I would be interested in a meal “courtesy of the Baron” (our affectionate term for Reuters).

  4. Nathanial says:

    This is the job description themisoprostolpills.com Venture capitalists often say they look for companies viapeople they know; Sequoia partner Mike Moritz described thatprocess in July when talking about the firm’s investment ingrocery-delivery company Instacart.

  5. Monroe says:

    real beauty page ferrogen xt price Sony later released a statement saying that the FBI is handling the situation, but had no further comment.

  6. Cecil says:

    I’m self-employed vital rx pelham Most long-haul commercial flights heading west from Moscow go over at least one European country. A potential option is a commercial flight to Tehran. He could then try to reach an African country such as Sudan or Angola, which might be ready to risk U.S. wrath. But there are no direct flights from Iran to either country.

  7. Dewayne says:

    Yes, I play the guitar erectile dysfunction forum online pharmacy pune “The extreme hedonism and wealth of the Late Baroque era can be seen on this Christmas tree

  8. Mason says:

    What’s the interest rate on this account? 19598.com “The issue of deploying armed guards at the venue… was kept aside for over six years considering the father of the nation's principles of non-violence,” the paper said, adding that the decision was made after recent blasts at an iconic Buddhist shrine in the eastern state of Bihar.

  9. Romeo says:

    I’d like to apply for this job 21 day fix meal plan ideas with shakeology We love her tote here though, but of course a serious piece of arm candy like that will set you back a bob or two

  10. Giovanni says:

    Would you like to leave a message? erofast sildenafil 50 mg como comprar “Let the World Court prosecute Obama and Bush for the crimes and murders they’ve committed,” he said. “When you take the whole program of the drones, it’s unconscionable the number of people killed innocently.”

  11. Allen says:

    Have you read any good books lately? unicity lean complete chocolate Asked about Mischief Reef in light of the images, Cartersaid he did not want to speculate on China’s future plans butadded that the militarisation of territorial disputes in theSouth China Sea could lead to “dangerous incidents.”

  12. Alden says:

    Is it convenient to talk at the moment? hls pharmacies The Ministry of Information said the unrest followed the attempted rape of a Buddhist woman by a Muslim man on Saturday. After the man was detained, about 150 villagers and three Buddhist monks gathered at the police station, demanding he be handed over to them, it said.

  13. Berry says:

    Are you a student? how to grow big devil xl auto In a study comparing the accuracy of urine sample testing with smear testing conducted by a doctor, scientists from Britain and Spain found the results were good and said using the urine test to detect human papillomavirus (HPV) could lead to more women agreeing to be screened.

  14. Isaiah says:

    Pleased to meet you healthlab.eu Last time I checked ‘ignorance of the law’ was no excuse; however, now that the GOP/NRA coalition is involved, ignorance seems to have become a good thing. That some small business owners would hide behind a shield of stupidity is a slur on the whole small business community. The average business owner should at least be as knowledgeable as a fifth grader, and they all know that there will be requirements that must be made when a LAW is implemented; yes, Obamacare is a LAW dummy.

  15. Josef says:

    Sorry, you must have the wrong number relacore perfect skin So only against scrub quarterbacks were the Giants able to play the kind of defense they used to play in January against Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, Tony Romo

  16. Trent says:

    I like watching football equitance review “This event has stunned all of us,” U.S. Senator Mark Udall said after touring the devastated area by air with Governor John Hickenlooper and other members of the state’s congressional delegation on Saturday.

  17. Dorsey says:

    I have my own business http://12yo.icu/ 12yo nude The Supreme Court ruling should allow Khodorkovsky to walkfree in August 2014 after his lawyers complained that a courtthat last year cut his 2010 sentence for stealing oil and moneylaundering should have allowed a bigger reduction.

  18. Edwin says:

    I’m about to run out of credit cavit pm price I remember that book becoming my bible.” Deshpande added that Iyengar would usually talk about yogic concepts, the beginning of yoga and the like in his discussions with him.

  19. Domenic says:

    How many are there in a book? medipak.com The country’s top conglomerates and some of the region’s bigcapitalists had initially jumped at the opportunity to fix whatthe latest Global Competitiveness Report of the World EconomicForum says is the top problem in doing business in thePhilippines – inadequate infrastructure.

  20. Chase says:

    Withdraw cash vardenafil 20 mg tablets quanto costa What was the Palestinian response? They destroyed the greenhouses, spent the money sent by the West not on schools, homes, roads, and hospitals but on missiles, tunnels and propaganda directed at killing Jews and fomenting hatred.

  21. Isabelle says:

    How do you know each other? apo-discounter.de markkleeberg For the third Test you are at the business end of a series. In this case we are one victory away from winning the Ashes but if you allow that kind of thinking to creep into your mind it can mess with your focus and take you away from concentrating on the important areas which remain the same, whether it is the third or first match of the series; hitting the basics and skills in the first hour.

  22. James says:

    I quite like cooking cheap aveeno uk household spent $445 on wine, beer and spirits in 2013, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

  23. Ellsworth says:

    Gloomy tales buy priligy london For starters, institutions that invest in the funds – pension funds, company treasuries and other large cash holders – would have to work harder at assessing risks for funds that will rise and fall with interest-rate fluctuations. The dollar they invest could be worth a few cents less when they withdraw money. It sounds inconsequential, but given the billions stashed in those accounts, those pennies can have a major impact. For starters, tax questions will become far more complex. Investors will have less certainty about funds at their disposal and higher costs for doing business as accounting and trading the funds becomes more time-consuming and volatile in a floating-rate world.

  24. Michal says:

    How would you like the money? endurolast virility support 65 list of chemicals known to cause\ncancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

  25. Jozef says:

    I’d like to cancel a cheque medicine.dance Oct 18 (Reuters) – Shares of Voxeljet AG, a Germanmaker of commercial 3D printers that created Aston Martin copiesfor a James Bond film, doubled in their market debut asinvestors sought shares in an industry out to change the wayproducts are designed and made.

  26. Jimmie says:

    Will I have to work on Saturdays? velcade Since the indictment was announced, Duprey has made the rounds, taking the temperature of state Republicans, who say Perry’s legal problem matters less than his viability as a presidential candidate.

  27. Armando says:

    real beauty page dsf healthcare services The European Commission has 25 working days after a deal is filed for a first-stage review. It may extend that by 10 workingdays to 35 working days, to consider either a company’s proposedremedies or an EU member state’s request to handle the case.

  28. Christoper says:

    Remove card cellucor super hd fire Inarritu explained, “Sometimes when I'm doing something I say, 'Oh, this is great, this is fantastic, you're a genius' and then 20 minutes later I feel like a dead jellyfish and I say, 'You're a stupid asshole' … The ego is a tyrant.”

  29. Alfonso says:

    I’m a partner in availablepharmacy.org reviews The Cassation judges said they were only following the “absolutely normal practice” in scheduling the final appeals hearing before the statute of limitations expires August 1 on one of the charges involving alleged tax evasion dating from 2002. Another charge involving alleged evasion in 2003 expires in the summer of 2014.

  30. Ivory says:

    Could I have an application form? blumox p “I don’t know how many stores you could buy with the break-up fee, but quite a few,” said Chuck Severson, a senior portfolio manager at RW Baird

  31. Alphonso says:

    What company are you calling from? biotivia bioforge ingredients He added, “I had graduated from the Naval Academy. That’s going to be a lot different than a young corporal who doesn’t have the benefit of a background with traditions and standards. We had been trained that we had something to live up to, and that had become part of us.”

  32. Jackie says:

    What do you do for a living? phyllocontin tablets That’s been partially reversed in the last few years as Vladimir Putin has repositioned Russia as America’s leading geopolitical adversary and the Castros signed up for that coalition, too

  33. Maximo says:

    I love this site http://lamalinks.fun/ lamalink The company said its net loss totalled 184.2 million yuan($30 million) for the January-June period. That was worse than a44.3 million yuan profit in the same period a year ago butbetter than an average forecast for a 241 million yuan loss fromthree analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

  34. Mohammed says:

    What do you do for a living? amoxicillin 500mg for sale uk House Speaker John Boehner used a conference call withmembers on Thursday to brief them on the ideas being considered,and how best to use the confrontations to put pressure on theDemocratic president.

  35. Steve says:

    Could I have a statement, please? haemaccel 500ml iv solution The nationwide FDA rules are new, but New York City and a few other cities and counties have had labeling rules in place in chain restaurants for several years

  36. Junior says:

    I was born in Australia but grew up in England reveal rx eye cream Anthony Badalamenti, 62, of Katy, Texas, faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine after his guilty plea in U.S. District Court to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence. His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey is set for Jan. 21.

  37. Freelove says:

    Please wait erectile dysfunction drug has least side effects tss They do not provide information about how engaged those voters are in the election

  38. Kenton says:

    Enter your PIN lake pharmacy jacksonville fl So many non-playoff finishes have given them a ton of high draft picks, but their defense and goaltending remain unreliable. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder surgery) and Sam Gagner (broken jaw) aren’t expected to be ready to start the season, but the Oilers have depth up front. Signing defenseman Andrew Ference was a good move, but this team is still a year or so away from the playoffs.

  39. Edwardo says:

    Incorrect PIN maxigesic In the days before the ceasefire, they had been trying to repel a big rebel offensive against the city.

  40. Emmitt says:

    I work for myself generic salmeterol inhaler Homan described Long as a repeat offender who had his probation revoked but was transferred from a medium-security facility to a minimum-security facility after only a short period. Long’s lengthy criminal background had included convictions on drug, burglary and robbery charges.

 

0 Flares Facebook 0 Twitter 0 0 Flares ×