Business As Usual, 2017–
Amazing Grace, 2020–
Business As Usual borrows its name from the term used in the corporate world to refer to an unchanging state of affairs despite difficulties or disturbances. Alberta Whittle uses humour and sarcasm to create ambivalent layers of meaning, addressing themes including disempowered histories, climate colonialism, trauma, healing and discomfort with how privilege is performed and engaged with.
This work is informed by tida-lec-tics, a concept developed by the late Barbadian poet Kamau Brathwaite, who interpreted history as a succession of events that follow the rhythms and sounds of the ocean. He considered the tides as conflicting zones of arrival and departure, where distinctions between past, present and future collapse. It is in these troubled spaces that Whittle situates her practice.
In the series Amazing Grace, shown here for the first time, Whittle explores Tobacco Merchant’s House in Glasgow as a site where colonial histories have been erased. Influenced by Afrofuturism and the aesthetics of the Caribbean masquerade, Whittle creates in-between spaces where racialised people can navigate the violence of othering and find a safe place for self-care.
Whittle was born in Bridgetown in 1980. She lives and works between Scotland, South Africa and Barbados.