Fake heritage is all around us.

Buildings and monuments……are as prone to deceit and bias as anything written or posted on the internet today.

Indeed, the truth behind the material remains of our past is made more complicated by both the passage of time and the piecemeal nature of the evidence, both of which guarantee a story only half told.

PLEASE NO VIOLENCE: Almighty God ( Kwame Akoto) , oil on board, 115.6 x 119.4 cm. Courtesy of Gallery of Everything.

……..Fame or money may be a significant motivator, but it is by no means the only reason to falsify the past.

……..The fabric of the past is important: for understanding where we have come from; for the lessons it offers for the future, good and bad; for the distinctive character it gives to our cities, villages and countryside; and for its contribution to identity, society, economy and politics.

As we have seen, history is rarely a neat, consensual narrative—a single, agreed sequence of events—but an array of alternative interpretations and views coloured by vastly differing perspectives.

BEARING WITNESS: Adjani Egbe, mixed media on door panel, 200 x 154 x 4 cm. Courtesy of Sulger-Buel Gallery.

Within the context of such in-built ambiguity, the presence of fake heritage and the increasing opportunities for it to flourish in a technology-rich world are considerable.

To the perpetrator, the spoils, be they justification, inspiration, glory or riches.

When confronted by this compendium of falsehood and reproduction, the task is to look closer when it comes to the past, to be curious and consider the ambition and stimulus of those telling their story, to be careful of the roots of nationalism and challenging of those who ignore evidence and scientific fact.

                                                                     JOHN DARLINGTON.

BLACK COUPLE: Joachim Silué, mixed media- soil, black pigment, iron, nails, drawing on MDF; 163 x 45 x 23 cm, 2019. Courtesy of Sulger- Buel Gallery.

ENTWINED IV: Patrick Bongoy, 105 x 125 cm, recycled rubber on wooden board, 2019. Courtesy of This is Not A White Cube.

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