Schipbreukeling – Mathieu Charles

Libita Sibungu

Quantum Ghost

A series of large-scale photograms and a new audio installation comprise this ongoing body of work which examines the potential for healing and gathering coming out of anti-colonial archival practices – stemming from the research journey into personal histories and sites of heritage connecting Namibia and Britain through; extractive mining industries, settler colonialisms and the Namibian (Anti-Apartheid) War of Independence.

Libita Sibungu’s research of mining history in the Namibian National Archive awakens connections between the displacement of raw materials from the earth with the Black bodies who were photographed carrying out this extractive labour. Sibungu’s photograms from her Quantum Ghost series are a direct transference of object to image that reimagine a dormant personal archive as a living record. Sibungu collected stones, shells and dirt from the Namibian landscape and brought them to England, echoing her late father’s exile to Cornwall from Namibia in the 1980s. This new physical archive of displaced materials, as well as seeds, sage and crystals with healing properties, in addition to fragments of photographs and promotional material from Namibia’s social and political history, are exposed onto light-sensitive paper scaled to the artist’s own body, capturing a new memory of ancestral experience. The auratic prints hold and emit light. They manifest a vision of subterranean growth and decay that resonates with the violent flows of natural resources and human bodies across time, illuminated by Sibungu as a projection of cosmic and universal energy. Sibungu’s exhumation of the past, in both material and narrative, unearths the reverberations of colonialism and diasporic migration embedded within landscapes.

In this iteration of Quantum Ghost, a selection of photograms are paired with a subtle sub bass composition, created by collaborator; artist and researcher Jol Thoms. This sub-sonic element parallels the natural frequencies of Uranium decay chains that warm the interior of the Earth. Through a careful spectral analysis these processes glide into healing frequencies that centralize love and memory, which are felt, embodied and heard.

Libita Sibungu’s solo and collaborative projects explore the political and spiritual relationships between the landscape and the body - told through personal and collective histories connecting diasporic legacies. Research is shared through embodied acts of digging; in earth, in records - revealing lost, and buried testimonies emerging out of fugitive experiences. Installations, performance, print, text and sound, help bring to life ongoing conversations surrounding the possibilities of a living archive.

Sibungu is a British-Namibian artist living between the UK and Namibia, projects of note have been presented with; Temple Bar Gallery, Ireland, (2021), Gasworks, Somerset House, Spike Island, (all UK) and Cabaret Voltaire, Switzerland, (2019); Whitstable Biennale; Eastside Projects, (all UK) and Kalashnikovv Gallery and the Bagfactory, Johannesburg (2018); South London Gallery, UK, and Diaspora Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale, Italy (2017). Sibungu is also the recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award and Henry Moore Foundation Grant Award (2020).

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