What might we read into the fabric of history? What violence is woven into the very aesthetic of being clothed and dressed in this world? And how can the subaltern memory of racial persecution speak to the present, not only to remind us of the brutalities of the past, but to confront new forms of slavery in this world? From cotton fields to the broken fibres of the human body, while the historical wounds of slavery are openly acknowledged, their lasting significance are so often denied by those who double the violence by denying how the present is chained to the past. But this has always been the colonial imagination, where the richness of the cloth concealed the lacerations of punishment upon those whose only value in life was their productive energies, which could be taken from anywhere on the planet - the real birth of Western globalisation, exploited and then discarded like the broken flesh. Wounded Fibres is the shroud of this visceral history, where the traces of the abducted and punished body are violently cut into the intricate stitching of a carpet and whose violence is now torn from its forgetting and whose dyed and cleansed narrative is once again denied its absolution of guilt.
This work was specifically produced for the Los Angeles Review of Books printed conversation "Slavery in America" with Professor Ana Lucia Araujo.
Chantal Meza, Wounded Fibres ( 2019) Mix Media on Carpet, 54 x 92