Intermedia Art BA (hons)

Natasha Ruwona

Cartographic Bodies

Digital prints on paper

Cartographic Bodies is a response to John Ogilby’s Africa: a guidebook made for European consumption. It is only one of many materials that have contributed to the problematic image of Africa created by the western gaze.

The project concerns itself with speculative map-making and remapping; the practices of making new maps provides the possibility to (re)tell alternative (hi)stories that are detached from a white European perspective.


Source material

John Ogilby, Africa, Being an Accurate Description of the Regions of Aegypt, Barbary, Lybia, and Billedulgerid, the Land of Negroes, Guinee, Aethiopia and the Abyssines, with all the Adjacent Islands, either in the Mediterranean, Atlantick, Southern or Oriental Sea, BelongingThereunto…(London, 1670)
DiscoverEd URL

Shelf mark

Special Collections: JY 504

Playfair location: *P.15.9

Natasha Ruwona

Portrait & interview

1. What was it about this project and brief that originally appealed to you?

I liked the range of possibilities that the project provided from engaging with the Playfair Library and the CRC material, to exhibiting with the CRC and at BOOKMARKS. It allowed me to combine my interests of history and archival practice with my artistic practice. 

2. What was your approach in searching for material that you wanted to work with?

I knew that I wanted to relate the project to the other work that I had begun doing prior in the CRC with the project UncoverED. I am interested in challenging and responding to problematic texts and the universities complicity in this.

3. Did you find anything about the project challenging?

The making of the books was the most challenging aspect, as well as the emotional aspect of having to read through derogatory content.

4. What unexpected discoveries did you manage to make during your research?

I’m not sure that there were any.

5. How has this project had impact on your art practice?

It gave me the opportunity to try new techniques of showing my work within a book format, as well as the possibility of responding to source material in a direct way.

6. Did your final output end up as you’d envisaged?

No, as I had expected to do a digital book but ended up making a handmade one. 

7. What advice would you give to someone doing this project next year?

Take your time to explore as many options as possible.

Copyright & open licence

Copyright © Natasha Ruwona, The University of Edinburgh 2020 CC BY-SA

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

CC BY-SA license