If you had a test to see if you had indigenous blood and it came back positive, would you
¨Yes, of course¨.
¨Who they were, where they came from, is still a mystery, but it´s clear that they were a
unique people. I would love to be part of them, it would be a privilege.¨
Comprised of 23 portraits that illustrate the genetic make-up of the current Canarian population and how it may relate to their indigenous heritage. Including their brief family histories, photographs of a selection of male, female and children’s skulls dating from the 6th century, and an interview with a genetic researcher from the University of La Laguna, Tenerife.
Text by Cristian Stanescu and Massimo Prampolini
The islands have a double identity, they are both land and sea: for the feet they are a tangible landing, and for the eye, with a view from the continent, they are the lands of the sea. Synonyms of remoteness and separation, the islands are crossroads, places of fusion. Each one closes and opens its borders in its own way: through its history, its hospitality, its resistance to external intrusions. It does so through the faces of its inhabitants, bearers of the enigma that every island has. The islands are this, and the Canaries are the islands par excellence.
In this exhibition Francesca Phillips shows her artistic sensibility with an anthropological survey on the native population of the Canary Islands, the Guanches. On show are intense portraits of people of different ages and sex, involving us in a virtual reality of their world, in the traces of a past so hard fought for their physical and cultural survival. Great inventors, the Guanches developed a complex language based on whistles, still known and practiced, as they needed a means of distance communication in the steep valleys of these volcanic islands in the ocean. In this amazing language Francesca Phillips has made a documentary of intense involvement, entitled Written in the Wind, which will be screened in the gallery during the exhibition to give us the chance to know ‘El Silbo´ , the whistled language of the Guanches, and the efforts to save it for new generations.
Critical text by Massimo Prampolini