“Colonial Sugar,” Tracey Moffatt and Jasmine Togo-Brisby, exhibition at the City Gallery Wellington. From 1863 to 1904, the Queensland government in Australia enslaved at least 62,000 people from the Pacific to fuel production in its prosperous sugarcane plantations.
Jasmine Togo-Brisby, “Bitter Sweet,” is a sculpture made from unrefined sugar and resin. The sicky saccharine smell is overpowering in this deeply affecting commentary on intergenerational trauma and slavery suffered by Indigenous people of Australia. Slavery was central to industry and trade. The artist is a fourth generation Australian South Sea Islander, based in Wellington. Her grandparents were taken from Vanuatu as children. This work conveys the horror of an unmarked mass grave unearthed in a former Queensland plantation.