Nomination: Master Research & Hybrid Publishing Award 2018
Sacred Mountain, a marginalised people's history, land, rights, and identity.
"Identifying the history of a marginalised people and how it has been systematically erased and repurposed to fit a colonial ideal occurs repeatedly throughout the world. In denying a people a history, it becomes legal and believable to deny them land, rights, and identity."
With script, film, photography -postcards- and a multimedia installation, I examine and interrogate the sociopolitical past and present situation of a specific geographical point. The neighbourhood of El Sacromonte* in Granada Andalusia, Spain has earned its popularity for being the settlement of Gitanxs**. And for having an exceptional type of dwelling, Casas Cuevas***. These are the homes for Gitanxs but also for people without many resources. I present my personal understanding of the “Interior” through the scope of “Interiority” ****.
From my perspective, the work that I have produced concerns itself with celebration and expressions of protest. My empirical input derives in parts from my personal family history as a gitana. It gives testimony to the reconstruction of the picturesque history of a specific place in contemporary Spain, and puts the lack of contextual information into perspective. To be able to do so, I employed conceptual and methodological approaches from academic combined with artistic practices.
Identifying the history of a marginalised people and how it has been systematically erased and repurposed to fit a colonial ideal is repeatedly occurring throughout the world. In denying a people a history, it becomes legal and believable to deny them land, rights, and identity. The colonial project is ongoing today, though it goes by different guises and monikers (war on terror, war on drugs , etc..).
Research of these erased histories is key in acknowledging the incredible injustices that have been metered out in the past and uncovering the vibrant, beautiful and important cultural and societal ímpetus and aspects of cultures that were crushed by the forces of empires.
*El Sacromonte translates into English as the Sacred Mountain and is a traditional neighbourhood of the eastern area of the city of Granada in Andalusia, Spain. It is one of the six neighbourhoods that make up the urban district Albayzín and borders the neighbourhoods of Albayzín, San Pedro, San Matías, El Fargue and Haza Grande. In 2009 there were 578 inhabitants.
**Gitano, Gitana originating from the word egiptano. In the XV century, it was thought that so-called gypsies came from Egypt. When they arrived in Europe, many groups of gitanxs presented themselves as Egyptian nobles; Thanks to this, in 1425, two Rom requested permission to stay in Spain from King Alfonso V of Aragon, in which they were called “Earls of Egypt”. Today, the Word Gypsie is considered a derogative term. More politically correct expressions apply are Roma as the most common but also Romani, Sinti, Caló or Calé (from kalo meaning “black”) and Gitanx as the term that I will use along this text which includes female and male individuals in Spain. Nevertheless, there are numerous groups with their own sefl-definition, such as Kalderash, Machvaya, Boyash, Lovari, Moyar, etc.
***Casa Cueva is the house that is built by digging a cave or taking advantage of and adapting a pre-existing cave.
****There has been a growing discourse on Interiority within the design-related discipline that extends our understanding of inhabitation.For me, the concept of Interiority is understood as an inner space that houses the emotions of a lived space.