Sri Lanka, Ghana, Botswana 1948-1966

Independence Day 1934-1975 features over 60 archival photos culled from more than 30 archives of the first Independence Day ceremonies of various Asian, Middle Eastern, and African nations. A key feature of the work is that the photos are sourced primarily from public archives in the Asian and Africa countries themselves.

The first Independence Day, leading up to and including the formal ceremony, unfolds as a series of highly codified rituals and elaborate speech acts enacted across public and elite spaces. The swearing in of a new leadership, the signing of relevant documents, the VIP parade, the stadium salute, the first address to the new nation, is all supervised and orchestrated by the departing colonial power. The photographic material is strikingly similar despite disparate geographical and temporal origins as it reveals a political model exported from Europe and in the process of being cloned throughout the world. The photo installation emerges as a typology, poised somewhere between a grid and a storyboard. Although a great deal of research has been done on both the colonial and the post-colonial eras, this project aims to introduce a third, surprisingly neglected element into the debate – that 24 hour twilight period in between, when a territory transforms into a nation-state.

Images courtesy of: Teen Murti Archives (India), National Archives of Tanzania, Mohamed Kouaci Archives (Algeria), National Museum of Syria, Sami Moubayed Archive (Syria), National Archives of Malaysia, Ghana Ministry of Information, Kenya Ministry of Information, Rift Valley Railways Archive (Kenya), Radiodiffusion Télévision Nationale Congolaise (DR Congo), Personal collection (Sudan), Mozambique National School of Photography, National Archives of Indonesia, Kuwait National Oil Company, Cosme Dossa Archive (Benin), National Library of The Philippines, Rizal Library at Ateneo de Manila University, Andre Zoungrana Archive (Burkina Faso), Presidential Archives Republic of Tunisia, National Library of Jordan, Royal Court Library of Jordan, Senegal Ministry of Communication, Photo-ANTA (Madasgascar), National Archives of Sri Lanka, Lake House Archives (Sri Lanka), Fraternite Matin Archives (Ivory Coast), Personal collection (Botswana), Morocco Ministry of Communication, Agence Burundaise de Presse (Burundi), Anonymous etc.






























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2009-ongoing, 60+ black and white photos, apxm. A5 size (14.8 x 21 cm/5.8 x 8.3 in)

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