native invaders and clearances


One thought on “native invaders and clearances

  1. Morag:
    Raymond Williams was quoting William Cobbett in the 19th century about the kind of people who started to go with agrarian capitalism and really started to make wealth out of it speculatively so there was the kind of landed gentry who were associated with a place and there were people – he called them native invaders – who moved in and who were starting to get into the idea of profiting from things. I was quite interested that William Cobbett reeled off a whole list of who these people were but one of the words he used to describe them was ‘negro drivers’ and I thought that was interesting because at the same time that Britain was colonising other countries, they were moving in on the British countryside.

    This is an image I took when I did a residency in a small wood at Penpont that was potentially going to be damaged or partially destroyed by the gas pipeline that came through the Brecon Beacons National Park. Some protestors occupied it and I was also in residence there so we started having this shared time. The kind of conversations we had in that wood felt really special; this creative space in this lovely wood with the developers either side of us. It’s just having that time to talk about things. It really reminded me of things Williams was talking about in that other era – ‘negro drivers’. This was a book that one of the protestors had been reading and had left lying around and that toy car happened to be lying on it and I just saw it and took a photo of it. We were having conversations around all sorts of things, including the mineral coltan (which is causing wars and all sorts of problems in the Congo), which we have in our computers and mobile phones and again, it’s hidden things, still going on, these hidden elements of our lives. The whole thing just resonated: protestors reading Joseph Conrad, who is talking about earlier colonisation of the Congo, them telling me about coltan, and here it is again in Raymond Williams.


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