Growing up in Barbados, Alberta Whittle was keenly aware of the Caribbean’s relationship to the UK. On moving here as a teenager, she was surprised that British people had little knowledge of their country’s colonial past. Whittle’s art explores the legacies of slavery and racial injustice; her filmic and performative installations unravel ‘contested, difficult histories’ to open up space for reconciliation. Hindsight is a luxury you cannot afford (2021), an evolving body of work, reflects on the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage from Plymouth to the ‘New World’, in which the sea features as ‘a crucible for knowledge, a place of torture, a graveyard, a place to forge new communities.
Alberta Whittle (born 1980, Bridgetown, Barbados) lives and works in Glasgow. Whittle studied at The Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh.
Hindsight is a luxury you cannot afford (2021) was commissioned by Hayward Gallery Touring and The Box, Plymouth for British Art Show 9 and made possible with Art Fund support.
Through my grief I can build new constructs of family and that’s something I hadn’t appreciated – that we might be living in the aftermath of slavery, and climate catastrophe, but the possibility of new families, and new bloodlines, and new ancestry or forms of recognition of ancestry exists.
– Alberta Whittle