Memória Roubada II, 2008

Sculpture
Polychrome wood, gold leaf, acrylic, slate base
207 x 240 x 300 cm

It had always been Pacheco’s intention to have a companion piece to Memória Roubada I but other projects intervened. In 2008, however, Memória Roubada II was completed and the two pieces were shown together in All Hallows on the Wall, London. In contrast to the emotional display of the first piece, here the heads stare resolutely forward, heedless of the silver shell (an ambiguous emblem – of renewal? exploitation?) on the ground before them. The faces have a fathomless impas­sivity, reminiscent of identity photographs, of Auschwitz detainees for instance. The text engraved in the slate base is part of the last will and testament of Isabella de Castile in which she expresses her wish for the inhabitants of the New World.

… Y NO CONSIENTAN NI DEN LUGAR QUE LOS INDIOS VECINOS E MORADORES DE LAS DICHS ISLAS E TIERRA FIRME, GANADAS
E POR GANAR, RECIBAN AGRAVIO ALGUNO EN SUS PERSONAS NI BIENES, MAS MANDEN QUE SEAN BIEN Y JUSTAMENTE TRATADOS…
And do not consent or allow the Indians who live on the said islands and mainland, whether already in our possession or to be won in the future, to suffer any offence to their person or their goods, but see to it that they are well and justly treated.

Memória Roubada II is the most overtly historical meditation on the consequences of colonisation in all of Pacheco’s sculpted work.

Robert Bush