The Magic Roundabout and The Naked Man
with Andrew Black

Centre Clark, Montréal September 8—October 8, 2022

This exhibition includes two video works by Aman Sandhu and Andrew Black. Each work follows a journey around a specific location in England to consider storytelling, intergenerational exchange, and colonial power relations “at home”. Both films were made from a distance, but in collaboration with people who live locally.

 

The Magic Roundabout from Aman Sandhu uses a notorious traffic intersection in the southwest town of Swindon as a stage for a series of stories about alternative forms of labor within a local Punjabi family. Shot entirely from a car that drives continuously inside the roundabout, the film creates a state of suspension and disorientation, and forms a tension between what are 'margins' and 'centres' in practices of resistance. A central focus of the narrative in the film critiques normative colonial framings of South Asian migrants, and questions the framing of the good immigrant. 

 

Aman also presents a series of works on paper including studies of farmers installing submersible water pumps at protest sites from the 2020 – 2021 Indian farmer's protest around Delhi. Drawings of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala (recently shot dead in India) and Punjabi poet Pash (Avtar Singh Sandhu) killed by Sikh extremists in 1988, are frequently brought into relation in Aman's practice. His evolving understanding of these two figures considers fraught histories of masculinity and protest both in Punjab and amongst its wider diaspora. 

 

In  The Naked Man in April,  Andrew's dad Peter records a walk through countryside adjoining RAF Menwith Hill – an American surveillance station – in search of a prehistoric carving. He offers observations on topography, public and private land, and springtime rural activity. His corrupted smartphone footage is intercut with archival photographs depicting the demolition of defunct industrial buildings in preparation for the series of reservoirs which now submerge much of the valley, and amateur poetry composed by a local stonemason in the 1890s, equivocally reflecting on the status quo as the British Empire began to disintegrate.

 

Accompanying Andrew's film are stone-rubbings made at Snowden Carr, an ancient site which has as its namesake Menwith Hill's major whistleblower. One carving uncannily resembles the station's constellation of radomes; another, made in a nearby churchyard, memorializes a father and son who died on the leap-day of separate leap-years.

 

Andrew also includes two landscape paintings, and badges from a radical women's peace movement initiated at Greenham Common, after which a group of local women formed a protest camp at Menwith Hill through the 1980s-90s.

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Photos by Paul Litherland