Common Salt is a new artwork: a live talk and a cine-poem.
Developed over 3 years of research into the colonial and geographical history of England and India, the work is rich and complex, resonant with our contemporary times. Working against collective amnesia, Common Salt will activate insights into our past, question our human responsibilities, taking participants on an expansive and emotional time-travel.
Common Salt explores the knotty complexity of lucre, enclosures and borders and the economic and social history of trade. It begins in the 1600s with the first Enclosure Act in Dorset, and Elizabeth I granting a royal charter to the East India Company, and continues on a treacherous 400 year journey, through the 'Great Hedge’ planted across India to tax salt as part of the East India Company's transnational business, to ships wrecking on the sandbanks of England, to 21st century narratives of trade, race and culture.
Artists Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer began collaborating on the idea for Common Salt late in 2013 investigating a thread of connected narratives, originally inspired by the hedgerow, as part of Sheila's two-year Rambles with Nature project. Common Salt is being developed as a live performance - a talk around a table using objects, language and salty Shruti box laments for audiences in museum, archival or gallery contexts.
Dates for 2018 are coming soon.
Photography by Sue Palmer