Ark of Martyrs is a rewriting of Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novel, Heart of Darkness. In the vocal traditions of gospel, toasting, and rap, Allan deSouza replaces Conrad’s words with ones that loosely rhyme to form an autobiography of V whose story consists of the mental chatter, unspoken and unspeakable desires, avarice, anxieties, and political resentments of guests at a wedding party on a cruise ship that’s adrift and under quarantine.
Allan deSouza is a California-based trans-media artist whose works restage colonial-era material legacies through counter-strategies of humor, fabulation, and (mis)translation. deSouza’s work has been shown extensively in the US and internationally, including at the Krannert Museum, IL; the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; and the Pompidou Centre, Paris. deSouza’s book, How Art Can Be Thought (Duke, 2018), examines art pedagogy, and proposes decolonizing artistic, viewing, and pedagogical practices that can form new attachments within the contemporary world. The book provides an extensive analytical glossary of some of the most common terms used to discuss art, while considering how those terms may be adapted to new artistic and social challenges. deSouza is represented by Talwar Gallery, NY and New Delhi, and is Chair of the Department of Art Practice at University of California, Berkeley.