How can we see beyond colonialism? And how might we be able to apprehend the work of those who saw themselves as living and creating the strictures of imperial control? This article argues for an uncolonial approach to knowledge creation, rejecting imperial history’s endless desire to uncover new bodies of evidence, which largely replicate our existing understanding of the ways in which Europeans subjugated Others. Instead, it argues for the ethical imperative of locating lost, forgotten, or erased scripts of Indigenous being and agency that lie largely unexcavated in our archives of the imperial moment. Using a case study of so-called “Bāb Art” from 1920s CE Algeria, the essay explores the manner in which unloved, rough, and ephemeral modes of art possess the potential to serve as touchstones through which we might see unconquered forms of thinking, imagination, and belief that presently lie outside the bounds of our human story. In considering the spiritual and aesthetic significance of these works, it is argued that we are able to open up new vistas, which allow for glimpses of futures that begin again from threads long thought lost to the past.

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