HeadHandEye (2017–2018)

Hanni Kamaly
Single-channel video, colour and sound
17 minutes 45 seconds
Courtesy of the artist


Hanni Kamaly’s multidisciplinary, research-driven practice examines material culture, historiography, collective memory, colonial power structures and the bounds of subjectivity to consider questions of memory and commemoration, embodied narratives, attention and agency. The video work HeadHandEye (2017–2018) investigates how colonial authority was often maintained through dehumanisation of the other, particularly the disfiguration of body parts essential to self-actualisation, such as the head, hands and eyes. Kamaly illustrates this process via a retelling of the French colonial regime’s response to a 1878 rebellion in the Pacific kingdom of New Caledonia, which culminated in the beheading of Kanak chief Ataï and the transport of his remains to Europe for ethnological research and museological display.