COLONIAL REPERCUSSIONS V SYMPOSIUM
They tried to bury us
Multimedia Installation 2018/2019
When Namibian communities rose up against German colonial rule, the Imperial forces responded by issuing extermination decrees. This reign of terror traumatized communities for generations and still lingers in the psyche of the nation.
80 percent of the Ovaherero and 50 percent of the Nama people were killed during 1904-08. People from other communities also fought and were killed during this period. Another decree encouraged the shooting of the San.
In Namibia, the land holds unresolved trauma. Each grain of soil holds memory and is a witness to the past. The wells that were poisoned to kill fleeing people, remain as gaping holes. The hanging trees still whisper, and the bones lie abandoned in the ground.
They tried to bury us is a scene of remembrance. The faces represent the multitudes that were never laid to rest. They echo the skulls taken that remain in public and private collections in Germany and elsewhere. They serve as a metaphor for history, representing a past that is unresolved and unfinished – both emerging from, and disintegrating into, the tainted earth in which they lie.