White Woman, Black Nationalists – Diana Mitchell’s Memoir

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Art, Colonialism, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, Politics, Racism, Zambia1 Comment

Diana Mitchell – an important Zimbabwean journalist and archivist I was delighted to be told of Diana Mitchell’s memoir and bought it immediately. Its 300 pages are densely packed with Diana’s personal and political life over the period when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. It isn’t a quick read for me – every page contains so much that relates to my life […]

The colour of light and the rainbow

Ruth HartleyApartheid, Art, Colonialism, Creativity, Race, RacismLeave a Comment

What made the Europeans:- the French, the British and the Germans and the rest so successful at building their empires? What made them so cruel in the execution of their power? Was it that thin epidermal layer that covered their bodies yet provided minimal pigmentation protection? Did their skin colouration make them evil? Did it make them successful? Technology and […]

Blame it on the man in the brandy barrel – Admiral Nelson

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Apartheid, Art, Books, Colonialism, Family, identity, Migration, Politics, Power, Racism, South Africa, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, When I Was Bad11 Comments

Art and storytelling 200 years later by a distant descendant. Born into the British Empire during the Second World War in a colonial country that no longer exists, I’ve been flung around in a turbulent vortex of political and personal change. My art and my writing are the ways I hang on to the world spinning around me. I have […]

Cancelling people, erasing history, burning libraries, & killing souls

Ruth HartleyColonialism, Family, Feminism, Human rights, Installations, Racism, Slavery, Storytelling2 Comments

Burying a living soul and the death I was responsible for When Mike walked back into my flat that day back in 1968, he was dead. His face was rigid. His eyes stared blindly. “My father buried me.” Mike spoke as if every word was a stone placed on his own grave. “Dad held a funeral service in the synagogue […]

Lines in the sand erased in the sea of history

Ruth HartleyArt Process, Colonialism, Creativity, History, Power, SlaveryLeave a Comment

‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’ There was a regular history exam question at my school that asked students to debate whether ‘the hour made the man or the man made the hour’. It usually related to a period of history that we had just finished studying. For example – did Britain’s survival in WW2 depend solely on Winston Churchill’s […]