The Things We Worship (1992)

Acrylic on Wooden Altar.

Size 60”h x 45”w (Closed) or 90”x (Open)        Photo Credit – Dan Christaldi

Collection of the Embassy of the USA, Barbados office.

This altar was activated at a performance at the dilapidated Vaucluse sugar factory with the late Colin Hudson - agriculturalist, inventor, singer and field naturalist. When closed, the altar displays a central image of a rural Barbadian landscape with a glass jar attempting to contain the environment as it is. On one side is a fish out of water and sugar cane at sea. Together Colin and Annalee opened the altar to present the unholy trinity of politician, farmer and businessman, cohorts in the crime of cutting up agricultural land and selling to the highest bidder, while a woman screams out loudly at the horror.

Once opened, Colin sang the Barbados national anthem and interjected his singing with provocative questions while I wrapped him in long strips of white gauze. He ended like a broken gramophone player, mummified by the fabric.

Discussion about the future of the landscape is caught between the sugar industry with its weighty references to slavery and current high labour costs (relatively speaking) and the development of small island states as playgrounds for foreigners through the development of golf courses and casinos.

At the back of the altar is a red line drawing of a rural setting with a ‘cut along the dotted line’ - eagerly followed by a scissors.


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