St Andrew’s Crossbreed (2019) was a series of assemblages for Culture&’s The Case, an experimental ‘micro~museum’ within an antique vitrine. Reflecting on experiences shared by persons of colour with Scottish ancestry, the work examined hidden historical narratives and the struggle to identify with one’s cultural heritage. The title references both the X-shaped saltire flag and antiquated notions of ‘breeding’ and status, seen in colonial racial classifications such as the Casta system.
Through dialogue with Culture& Director, Dr Errol Francis, I used our common heritage as a vehicle to explore the complexities and limits of names as cultural identifiers. Whilst our names connect us to Scottish clans and tartans (Francis’ mother’s maiden name was MacGregor), experiences of unbelonging and White normativity raise problematic questions about what it means to look Scottish “enough” to claim them.
"On the upper shelf, a triptych of grouped objects investigates the connection between Scotland and Jamaica, the birthplace of Francis’ parents. The only countries to share the Saltire flag, the link between the nations is also revealed in the fact that over 60% of Jamaican surnames are of Scottish origin. Scottish place names also abound on the island, with Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Inverness appearing on the maps of both countries. Unavoidably, these historic associations reveal a dark legacy of slavery, as plantations driven by Britain’s appetite for sugar transformed Scotland from one of the poorest to one of the richest countries in Europe at the turn of the 19th century." (excerpt from exhibition text)
"On the lower shelves, two assemblages playfully represent the experience of being biracial. Of mixed British and Filipina heritage, Kerr explores the sense of confusion and unbelonging that can arise from being born to parents of different cultural backgrounds. In the first piece, her embroidered Scottish name tangles across a t~shirt covered in jokes in her mother’s tongue ~ a language she doesn’t speak. Visible on the label is the word ‘Halu~Halo’, the name of a traditional Pinoy dessert that literally translates as ‘Mix Mix’. In the second, a concoction of rice grains and dried heather flowers delicately spill over each other, reminiscent of confetti ~ perhaps anticipating celebration in embracing one’s mixed identity." (excerpt from exhibition text)
Documentation by Will Alcock.
"Of mixed British and Filipina heritage, Kerr explores the sense of confusion and unbelonging that can arise from being born to parents of different cultural backgrounds...”