13 May – 4 Jun 2006

Shared History

Tiong Ang, Delphine Bedel, Francesco Bernardelli, Sophie Berribi, Dineo Bopape, Cláudia Cristóvão, Fendry Ekel, Mounir Fatmi, Dana Gilerman, Johan Gri-monprez, Ratiba Hadj-Moussa, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Sigalit Landau, Melvin Moti, Otobong Nkanga, Steve Pil lar, Renée Ridgway, Jean Rouch, Ruangrupa, Jayce Salloum, Basak Senova, Kwang-Ju Son, Greg Streak, Susan Youssef

How is decolonisation represented through images, in popular culture, film, photography and art? Where are the images of decolonisation? What is the legacy of those images in our culture? What does it mean to ‘decolonise’ an image?

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These are some of the questions this project in four parts seeks to raise and put forward for discussion. International and interdisciplinary in its scope, Shared History/Decolonising the Image combines an art exhibition, a video lounge and an academic conference with a film programme presented in four different venues throughout Amsterdam from 06 May to 04 June 2006.    

Exhibition & Video Lounge   Openings: Arti & Amicitiae Friday 5 May 18.00– 20.00
W139 Friday 12 May 21.00   Curated by Delphine Bedel and Sophie Berrebi.  

What is an image of decolonisation?  How do images exist, travel, show different realities, make appear a common, shared history, beyond national differences? The exhibition Shared History/Decolonising the Image seeks to extend the understanding of ‘decolonisation’ historically, geographically and conceptually. It brings together artists and filmmakers who reflect upon decolonisation as a working concept, a historical reality and a contemporary situation inherited from the past.  

Works by Tiong Ang, Fendry Ekel and Otobong Nkanga show the extent to which particular activities and areas such as sports, food and architecture may become signifiers of decolonisation. Jayce Salloum and Renée Ridgway reflect upon historical and political issues, as does Mounir Fatmi. His installation G8-Les Balais reads as an incentive to Western nations to re-read history and to ‘sweep their doorstep’. In Kwang-Ju Son’s film The Third Tongue, the process of learning English is related to the memory of the Korean War and its aftermath, when modernization meant Americanization. Johan Grimonprez’s film Kobarweng, or Where is your Helicopter? set in Irian Jaya and New York reflects upon the idea of otherness, merging anthropological research with subjective experience. While personal stories and history are combined in Son and Grimonprez’s films, they become virtually indistinguishable in Cláudia Cristóvão’s Fata Morgana, where African-born Portuguese men and women speak of their largely imagined African identity. Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s historical work Mouth to Mouth and Dineo Bopape’s recent videos show the body and language as vessels or metaphors of colonial practices. Along with Sigalit Landau, these artists resort to perform-ance to suggest that history may be inscribed within the body.  

The video lounge offers a continuous daily programme of documentary, essayistic, fiction and artists’ films. This part of the exhibition helps to underline the multiple per spectives needed in order to reflect upon the complex issue of decolonisation and its images. It will show contemporary view points from the Middle East, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, New Zealand and Algeria among others. Researchers from different backgrounds as well as international artists, curators and film col lectives have each selected three films. Most of these videos have never previously been screened in the Netherlands.