‘I grew up with the ordinariness of the colonial order of things and the banality of apartheid in the spaces where other whites, like me, lived …’ Unearthed demonstrates, through a weave of time and place – be it then or now, the Seychelles, Johannesburg or London – how the ‘ordinariness’ of prejudice and violence persists. Raising memory from burden to force, this book pulls you in and takes you to an understanding of why it is important to speak.
‘Yvette Greslé manages what many cannot – she reclaims memory without falling prey to sentimentality. Achingly spare, Unearthed is a haunting catalogue of remembrance, an unflinching and melancholic examination of racism and privilege.’ Sisonke Msimang
I am a writer based in London with a PhD from University College London. I have lived in London for over ten years but was born in Johannesburg and raised in the Seychelles Islands. In 2017, I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow (Global Excellence Stature Fellowship) at the University of Johannesburg). I am currently a London-based Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg.
Unearthed, my first book, is due to be published by Copy Press in October 2019 as part of their Common Intellectual Series.
I have written about/with art for over twenty years for publications based primarily in Johannesburg and London and blogged at Writing in Relation. Writing about contemporary art across media and geography, I have emphasised the relation between aesthetic forms, processes and materials and historical, philosophical, social and political worlds.
Subsequent to the completion of my PhD, my writing has focused specifically on the historical-political conditions of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. Working with theoretical concepts of memory and trauma, together with the ethics of feminist thought, I explore how artists have mobilised moving images to engage multiple forms of apartheid-era violence and its iterations in the present. I focus on how the moving image produces languages – visual, sonic, spatial, temporal, affective and performative – that have the capacity to inform and expand writing and thought.
Through the process of publishing my PhD research, my interests have become specifically about writing itself. I am especially engaged by the poetic and philosophical possibilities of the historian/writer’s encounter with the archive and the objects and materials held within it.