“Pantone 2685" and its companion piece "Leopoldville” tackle part of a complex history around the (post) colonial contradictions of humanitarian work within the context of Roger Casement who was executed in 1916. The work is an installation of several elements both inside and outside the galleries. Focused around the word “Leopoldville”, the former colonial name for Kinshasa, the word is rendered as graphically to mimic the Cadbury chocolate confectionary corporate logo. “Leopoldville” then appears as an outdoor illuminated sign, made by shop sign fabricators.
This piece conflates the benevolent financing of humanitarian work – William Cadbury’s funding of Casement’s investigations into human rights atrocities in the former Congo – with the collision of private and corporate interests which often counter such work, e.g. the tens of millions who were revealed to have died under (King) Leopold who treated the Congo as his private fiefdom to be exploited for personal gain. The piece offers a counter-factual critique of big business and humanitarian crisis, wrongly aligning good and bad to speak of the complicit nature of the nation state and multi-national corporation.
The short video Pantone 2685 brings the various elements together with a series of questions put to the CEO of a noted NGO - namely Colm O'Gorman, from Amnesty International Ireland. The conversation aims to tease out the humanitarian legacy of Roger Casement compared with international human rights activism now. The video is rapidly cut to mimic a rather frantic documentary head & shoulders interview style.
These works were made for Still (the) Barbarians curated by Koyo Kouoh
37th edition of EVA International – Ireland's Biennial, 16 April – 17 July 2016