My mother’s garden is haunted by birds

"My mother’s garden is haunted by birds who squawk too much, overgrown trees and years of stuff. This year has seen my parents, and father in particular relegated to inside their home. This is not unusual for him, when breathing and moving is hard. This garden forms an integral part of their daily routines and rituals. The remnants of a family home tumbled out of boxes and piles of dejected stuff, around the boundary of the house – this space that sits for them not outside or inside. Like they use Instagram as a portal to connect them to the outside-world, this work shares fragments of their private in-between space. These windows providing a glimpse into their everyday through their garden, inviting you to slow down and shift your pace."

Sancintya Mohini Simpson is an artist and researcher based in Brisbane, Australia. She is a descendent of indentured labourers sent to work, from India to South Africa, on colonial sugar plantations. Her work navigates the complexities of migration, memory and trauma through addressing gaps and silences within the colonial archive. Simpson’s work moves between painting, video, poetry and performance to develop narratives and rituals. Her practice is grounded in collaboration and community engagement, connecting wider narratives surrounding descendants of indenture and their diaspora communities.

Simpson’s recent solo exhibitions include New Old Archives, Milani Gallery, Brisbane, Kūlī nām dharāyā/ they’ve given you the name ‘coolie’, Institute of Modern Art Belltower, Brisbane, and Echoes Over Oceans (with Shivanjani Lal), Firstdraft, Sydney, 2020; Remnants of my ancestors, Boxcopy (Hobiennale), Hobart, and Natal’s Coolie Women, CARPARK, Milani Gallery, Brisbane, 2019; and Bloodlines at Metro Arts, Brisbane and Blak Dot Gallery (Next Wave Festival), Melbourne, 2018. Her work has been exhibited and performed at a number of institutions, most recently at the Museum of Brisbane, 2020; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2019; and QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, 2018. In 2019 she undertook a residency at 1Shanthiroad in Bangalore, India, awarded through Asialink Arts Creative Exchange. Simpson is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.