Rosamond S. King
Sable InternationalSable International
Montreal Performance
Part of the 2014 |Encuentro Performance Festival||, Sable International was a site-specific performance art piece created for Montreal. In English, the phrase reads as a synonym for a black international subject. In French, it reads as international sand. Together, the two meanings encompass the performance’s key concepts. In this solo traveling piece, the audience was invited to follow as I walked through Old Montreal from the Place d'Youville monument that celebrates the peace treaty between First Nations people and French Colonists, past the Old Customs house, a former slave market and site of public executions. My movements derive from Nago, a Haitian warrior dance related to Shango.

Dressed in a red headtie and nurse’s uniform, I appeared as some of the thousands of immigrant nurses hired to heal, while gesturing towards a color affiliated with Nago and with Legba in Yoruba religious ceremonies. As a black woman, I represent the millions of Caribbean immigrants settled in Montreal, the rest of Canada, and in North America as a whole.

As I travelled, I scattered sand from my handbag and pockets; the sand represents not only the home Caribbean country, but also the immigrants ourselves, scattered around the world, traveling from water to land. Sable International is a re-envisioning of a walking meditation on mourning performed in Ghana, West Africa.

Alternating between everyday imagery and the spectacle of performance, I invoked black immigrant women who are typically invisible as women of color in low-wage jobs, and who are hyper-visible as the repository of stereotypes.