Courtesy the Artist
Nevermore/Evermore is a work made for Pompeii Commitment, a project by the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. It is at once a celebration of the creativity and resilience of Black American women in the music world as well as an open reflection on the impact of Western colonization on ancestral heritage and local archaeological histories in the Americas. These approaches Nevermore/Evermore evokes through the interactive combination of image and sound: a selection of archaeological pottery shards from Pompeii storerooms become the carrier of music excerpts from different songs by African American women singers of the twentieth century. Through the overlapping and linking of these “pieces” which sit on different historical trajectories, the work draws the attention to the ancestry of these singers, pointing to how the dynamics of modern colonization implied forms of historical erasure as white settlers did neither value, nor care, nor try to preserve cultural expressions of the populations they oppressed and forcibly removed from worlds. The work also asks: What a world would it be if the seriousness, expertise and resources used in the West – as exemplified by the essential archeological work carried out in Pompeii – were applied to also study Black and Indigenous archeological sites throughout the Americas, instead of ignoring, concealing or destroying them?