Diaspora Pavilion 2
2021 | 180x290x170cm | painted wood
(Photograph by Document Photography)
In the seat of the old Luwu kingdom, South Sulawesi I found flags, weapons, baskets, ancient graves, streets full of drying cloves, a palace on stilts and an 800 year old list of names that lead from myth to me. The boats left in 1668, passing through Borneo and Cambodia to arrive on the Malay peninsula. In an ice cold KL high rise I picked through the online detritus of colonial bureaucracy, stiff portraits of seated chiefs flanked by frowning men with spears and uniformed foreigners posing with dead tigers, giant fish and crocodiles. Driving between kampungs I looked down tributary rivers feeding into the freight super highway of the Malacca Straits, where 300 ships a day flow relentlessly between Asia, Africa and Europe. I can still feel the stifling heat, hear the hum of countless air conditioners and voices everywhere, I smell cooking and a part of me was home but sweat soaked and jet lagged, missing home. I was surrounded by opaque brown water, staring kids, power lines and phone shops, locked out by language yet welcomed as family. I want to describe something that only exists in my mind. A throneroom.