Nina Edge: The Fall
This short film evokes the feeling of being deeply rooted in this land, whilst at the same time completely up-rooted and wilted by the UK’s prevailing cultural norms. It is not normally expected for brown-skinned Britons to live in rural areas. We are associated with cities. This is a film about connection and disconnection. My experience of being the hidden offspring of a group famously forced into migration by a dictatorship in Uganda is the starting point for a brief atmospheric movie.
The film uses predominantly footage of rain falling. It falls through English trees into lakes and ponds, and onto the earth. The footage was shot in places I returned to, that I had visited as a child, growing up in the countryside, before being exiled into urban city-spaces where my brown skinned belonging was more accepted than in the fields and villages of Britain. The accompanying track uses the sound of the rain falling, rice falling, interspersed with multi-lingual readings of family recipes collected by my aunt from her birthplace in Kampala to her landing place in London. Like many Ugandan Asians she speaks Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi and Swahili.
The rural environment of my early life, when I worked with the land growing food, or travelled the land out of curiosity, resulted in my old self, feeling deeply connected to this country. Tied to the land. However then, as now, when I am outside cityscapes and urban spaces – walking, filming or drawing in the landscape I am often perceived as a stranger, an invader, someone who does not belong in the frame of the pastoral idyll.
The title refers to the kind of ‘fall from grace’ humans perform to each other in asserting territorial or cultural domination, as well as to the calm and tranquility that rain and leaf fall brings to bear.
Nina Edge trained as a ceramicist becoming known for subversive use of materials and visual language with Black British Artists across the UK. Recently she has been socially engaged in practices that touch housing, food and transport systems. Exhibitions include Mirage (ICA, London 1995), Transforming The Crown (Studio Museum in Harlem, 1997), The Fifth Floor (Tate Liverpool, 2008) and The Shared Habitat (Granby Winter Garden Liverpool, 2018).
She is published by Third Text, International Journal of Art & Design Education, Feminist Art News and Liverpool University Press. She forms longstanding collaborations with diverse communities making work that is critically acclaimed accessible to broad audiences. Productions include bi-lingual advertising hoardings, radical textile installations, window drawing, digital story-telling, and projects that engage people with planning for a more equitable the future. Previous film work focused on food distribution and housing. She is currently working on A Hundred Year Street digital map with Squash and MMU and writing short stories for Heart of Glass in St Helens.
Her relationship to the plants and landscapes of the UK is informed by having grown up as a Dual Heritage Asian in a rural area before moving to cities. As the daughter of a Ugandan Asian and an Englishman she has a pressing interest in ideas of belonging, territory and home.