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Mare Nostrum (Black Birds)

Kiluanji Kia Henda
Mare Nostrum (Black Birds), 2019-2020
Assemblage of 53 inkjet prints on fine art papers
Work: 264.5 x 403 cm

Mare Nostrum (Black Birds) is a composition of photographic images taken from the salt pans of Arles on the French Riviera in Provence. Historically the Mediterranean is a site of development for civilizations and solidarity between different populations, but also a space of death and disappearance. In this work, the crystalline transparency of the salt pans is contrasted by black shapes that interrupt the white salt and allude to the stories of those who try to cross the Mediterranean towards Europe. The title ‘Mare Nostrum’ translates from Latin into ‘Our Sea’ and is the term used by Romans for the Mediterranean denoting it as a historic site of racial, commercial and military control; a state that has returned in recent years.