Jack Beng Thi

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Jack Beng Thi recently began a conversation with us stating that he has visited nearly every island in the Indian Ocean. Beng-Thi articulates his artistic works in sculpture, installation, poetry and more recently video drawing from his own autobiographical lineage that is a geographic constellation of Vietnamese-Chinese, African and European while based in the Reunion Island. Actively recalling histories of slavery and the archipelagic mode as a line of connection across colonial legacies and island communities are foundational to his practice. As has been written on his work: ‘Jack Beng-Thi has always explored the slippery territory of our condition as islanders with rootless ancestors. He explores the unsayable places of the people with wounds sutured by what is left unsaid. On his journeys, he sends himself into exile in order to better recognise his island, to become more familiar with it. To idealise it. But he always finds the narrow corridor leading from the mythical island to the real one, the island of latent suffering, of increasing social malaise, of a spirited yet often denied identity, subject to the attacks of globalisation. He hopes to find in the remote the answers to the intimate questions posed by his native land.’

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