"The White Man's Burden: The United States and the Philippine Islands" is a poem written in 1899 by British novelist Rudyard Kipling at the beginning of the Philippine-American War. In the poem, Kipling promotes the idea that the US should acquire colonies, just as other European nations. In this piece, we performed a poetic gesture of literally internalizing and embodying these words. The poem is printed on a long strip of fabric that we consumed, revealed through our mouths, and then wrapped our faces; binding us and making us blind and mute. Through this gesture, we are interested in the legacy of imperialism on the psyche and body, from generation to generation.
Archival ink on cotton scroll; performance
Performed for Historical Amnesia, BronxArtSpace, Bronx, NY
Curated by Gabriel de Guzman
Photo credit: Vivian Chiu