In the rooms of our bodies is an extension of Jasmine Togo-Brisby’s ongoing explorations into the multifarious ways that marginalised histories are embedded within contemporary material culture.
Through her research driven practice, and working across various media, Togo-Brisby delves into her own personal history and that of the pacific slave trade, which saw her great-great-grandmother taken from Vanuatu and transported to Australia under slave-labour policies employed by the Australian government, and where she was eventually acquired as a house slave for the Sydney Wunderlich family in 1899.
The Wunderlich family produced ornate, pressed-tin ceiling panels and architectural elements. Today, you can still purchase the designs and originals are found in many buildings across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, including Wellington Town Hall, and are painstakingly preserved as heritage materials. For Togo-Brisby, a fourth-generation Australian South Sea Islander, these panels are an enduring physical manifestation of a colonial legacy that provides stark contrast to the scarcity of records available for South Sea Islanders, who trace their roots to Australia through the slave-diaspora.
Originally from Queensland and now based in Pōneke, Togo-Brisby regularly incorporates imagery of three generations of her own family – with photographs or silhouettes of her mother, daughter, and herself rigidly posed with colonial props or objects – making visible the often invisible but enduring effects of intergenerational trauma.
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