The Broken Trade Winds
Installation and video works, 2022-2023.

In her project The Broken Trade Winds, Al Shazly speaks of the colonial debris and continued production of imperial formations rather than the empire itself, in order to capture the ongoing quality of processes of decimation, displacement, and reconquest.

The work involves working with historical material as raw material as well as more conventional research in archives of colonial material, particularly white earthenware, to reveal colonial cultural legacies and their relationship to our contemporary memory. 

Critiquing the growth of the English export ceramics industry and the slave trade, she recalls the success of slave traders who transported goods and enslaved people between Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean islands by covering their route with fragments of blue and white ceramics. 

The work shows the relationship between two different contexts, the first about the history of excellence in the porcelain industry and the second about the African diaspora. Both are often imbued with the tension of juxtaposition.

Thinking with its tin-glazed earthenware surface elegantly mimics porcelain, its deeply rounded shape and tall sides suggesting its social purpose, while its hand-painted cobalt blue merchant ship celebrating the mastery of the seas metaphorically replaces a refugee boat.

Featured in the exhibitions at UJ Gallery, University Johannesburg 2023, curated by Eugene Hon and Ruth Sacks.
Featured in the exhibitions at The Africa Centre, curated by Najlaa Elageli and Tewa Barnosa.

Installation view: University of Johannesburg UJ Gallery, Johannesburg, 2023.

A History of Excellence 

Using Format