Subterfuge (2023)

Berni Searle

5-channel 4K synchronised video installation
13 minutes 30 seconds

Com-fort (Variation)
Spices and found objects
15 x 1200 x 1200 cm

Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation Courtesy of the artist


Berni Searle’s body is often at the centre of her work, rendered as
a site of inquiry into prescribed notions of racial, gender and ethnographic identity. Subterfuge (2023), a multichanel installation is presented alongside a new iteration of Com-fort (1997), which explored the social legacy of the Castle of Good Hope, built by the Dutch East India Company in the seventeenth century. Subterfuge highlights the building’s contemporary situation, revealing the compounding effects of settler colonialism and apartheid in South Africa. Com-fort (Variation) (2022) is staged through a layer of red spice, invoking the silhouette of the castle’s pentagonal floor plan. Together, the works express the postcolonial struggle for a sense of belonging and home.