Decolonisation in its literal sense means withdrawing from a former colony, leaving it independent. But could we ever be independent? Devoid of the colonial way of conditioning?
So in the removal of the sculpture itself, I am questioning if presence and truth are directly linked. The vacuum acts as a space of active protest, it challenges the language of monuments themselves. The fact that they do not represent the history of power and domination but rather subverts the same notion through the absence of presence.
The colonial built remains are testimonials of history, tangible traces of the colonial past. Our relationship to a statue is always changing. Often the change is so gradual, happening over decades and generations, that the monument- the version of reality it embodies- simply recedes into the background. We make assumptions that the past is in the past, that those ideas and values no longer have the power to threaten or harm, or never did. This negative space by no means is a negative connotation, in contrast it is the positive reclamation of power by the oppressed.
The two keywords that reappear in the gif are truth and presence in English and Hindi. Language plays a very important role to me personally because it is a tool that can shame, colonise and humiliate.
I am Indian in origin but English in tongue, I am the living proof that seventy-three years after Independence, imperialism still continues through the control and conditioning of the mind.
Language is also a place of struggle.
And in the gif, the Hindi writing, presence, hollows out the English writing, Truth, further representing that truth and presence exist separate from each other.