THE LAND

2015, 34'20", video 16:9, color, stereo, HD
English/Patois/Flemish spoken

with the support of - Flemish Community, Flemish Community Commission, ARGOS Centre for Art and Media
distribution & preservation - ARGOS Centre for Art and Media

While walking through the landscape the camera explores the so called Canadian tobacco belt of Southwestern Ontario. In the footsteps of the first European settlers on the American continent, the viewer discovers how the historical process of colonization, cultivation and exploitation of the land is still being reflected in present day reality.
In this particular region the tobacco plant was part of that process. Taken out of its native context and its original use by indigenous people, it became part of an industry developed by European migrants (of which many were Belgian) during the twentieth century. The film addresses how the land got cultivated, how cultures vanished, how identities faded or shifted, and how colonial powers still are resonating today. The audience is taken from native chants and seemingly unspoiled nature to the Vanden Bussche Irrigation Company where the current president of the company and grandson of Belgian pioneer Gerard Vanden Bussche explains different techniques to work and improve the land. The film ends at a tobacco plantation, where the Creole speaking Jamaican seasonal labourers have picked up some last remaining words in Flemish from the farmer of Belgian descent they are working for.
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On Brenna Bhandar's 'Colonial Lives of Property' - Beursschouwburg, Brussels (BE), 2020
This land is my land. This land is your land. - ARGOS Centre for Art and Media, Brussels (BE), 2015