Memory and its absence is at the heart of Delio Jasse’s work The Lost Chapter: Nampula, 1963 on show at Tiwani Contemporary, Gallery in London. Jasse’s work is rooted in experimental photography, and the theme of photography and memory is one that re-ocurs. The Lost Chapter: Nampula 1963 is a further exploration, based on an archive of unwanted documents Jasse found in a flea market in Lisbon; featuring images of a Portuguese family that immigrated to Mozambique during the 1950s and 60s when the country remained under Portuguese domination, they depict moments of bucolic and mundane family life.
The images in this exhibition have the haunting quality of all old photographs, heightened by the mystery and mythology the artist has created around them. The images are family photographs, yet strikingly, though Jasse has traced the location and context of the images, the family represented remains unknown; one wonders if knowing, would shatter the special force these images have; the effect of old photographic techniques are heightened by Jasse’s own skill. The exploration of contested memory, and history is alluded to in a few works directly, but mostly, Jasse allows the absence of black Mozambicans to speak for themselves. As a commentary on archive and the power of memory this is a forceful piece of work, however, the strongest pieces are those presented in miniature; its perhaps dependent on the collector or the viewers’ taste however, despite the intricate play on the power to interpret history and impose a fictive identity on these images, that they never quite transcend the banality from which they were originally produced.
‘The Lost Chapter: Nampula: 1963’ is at Tiwani Contemporary until 17th December