Empire Symbol, Or A Man and His Mule

Bamboat | Mitchell


Video with Audio (English; 18 minutes)

Audio Description (English)




The Hour of the Pig

Empire Symbol, Or A Man and his Mule, traces the journey of a Canadian veterinarian who was responsible for transporting mules from New York to Karachi, India during WWII. Employing his diary entries, Sharlene Bamboat & Alexis Mitchell unearth both the psychic life of The Vet, as well the histories of Canadian Militarism that are embedded within mundane processes of global trade and transport.


Bamboat | Mitchell: Empire Symbol, Or A Man and his Mule, 2015.

Image Description

A close up of the head and neck of a brown donkey with large eyes and a calm expression. Two white gloved hands stroke the face and neck of the donkey, one hand coming from each side of the frame. Only the arms of the figures are shown, each one dressed in black so that they seem to recede into the dark background of the barn, the hands appearing disembodied. The barn floor is made of dirt and littered with straw. The background is dark and fades to almost black.

[Original with Audio Description]

Bamboat | Mitchell: Empire Symbol, Or A Man and his Mule, 2022.

Image Description

3 pieces of paper cut-outs of different donkeys sit atop a cream coloured background. One of them has a blue background with green toy soldiers leading a donkey; the second a brown donkey staring at the screen with its lips wide open, and the third is a hand-drawn donkey pulling a cart with the word ‘Tonga’ underneath. Text appears on the bottom left of the screen: A Mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female mare. Most mules are sterile. Sterile hybrids are not species in their own right.


This project is commissioned by Sara Matthews at the Department of Global Studies and the Centre for Memory and Testimony Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo; and Dina Georgis at the Canadian Network for Psychoanalysis.
Audio Description by Jennifer Brethour.