On 29 April 2006, a twenty-foot boat was spotted off the south-eastern coast of Barbados. On board, eleven bodies were found by the coastguards, preserved and desiccated by the sun and salt water. The ghost ship was adrift for four months on the Atlantic Ocean. It set sail on Christmas day in Praia in the Cape Verde Islands, full of migrants from Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Gambia, en route to the Canary Islands. Each of these men paid £890 for their place on the boat. Four months later the boat was found on the coast of Barbados.
This live audio-visual essay by artist Ayesha Hameed is an ‘inadequate telling’ of this story that draws on the materials and tools at hand to make sense of the complicity of weather, ocean currents and state violence in the journey of this ship. Hovering between the film and the essay form is a questioning of the adequacy of the measuring of histories and affects connected to crossing, languages to make evident the materiality of the sea, and the both measurable and immeasurable horror contained in the figure of the ghost ship.
This is a public event presented as part of Glasgow School of Art’s ‘Race, Rights and Sovereignty’ series, in partnership with the Glasgow School of Art Students’ Association.
Image: Ayesha Hameed, Black Atlantis: Retrograde Futurism, 2018 (film still). Image courtesy the artist.