Jade Montserrat’s Fugitive Traces and Earth-Splattered Bodies

Making African Atlantic Homespace in Alien Environments Then and Now (1758–2018)


  • Alan Rice




This article discusses the Scarborough-born Black British artist Jade Montserrat, interrogating her multimedia work in the light of the history of slavery and Black British presence, postcolonialism, and ecocriticism. It looks specifically at the video works Clay and Peat Bog, discussing them in the context of their relation to Black presence in the North and the history of Black agency including new information about runaway slaves. The watercolour Toes and the installation piece No Need for Clothing are discussed in these terms as well, while the latter is used also to describe how charcoal traces from the work illuminate the physical cost of the work on Black bodies. The article uses theoretical work by Edouard Glissant, Paul Ricoeur, Michael Rothberg, Katherine McKitterick, Ian Baucom, and Hannah Arendt, as well as the context of Black British history, to help illuminate the multiple meanings the work engenders.