During my residency at contemporary art platform Derde Wal in Nijmegen I developed a new concept called C'est l'Epoch about activism, African heritage and the importance of barbershops. The Nigerian photographer Andrew Esiebo calls West African barbershops "public intimate spaces". Customers and barbers exchange personal stories about work, relationships and politics. In post-slavery Jim Crow America barbershops and beautysalons were the first industries that allowed Black people to become entrepreneurs. This enabled barbers to financially support their community. My latest series C'est l'époch in collab with Eisabetta Agyeiwaa, Fana Richters (Planet Airich) and poet Rohan Ayinde revolves around the barbershop Eagle Hair Design that has been an afrocentric public intimate space in my hometown Arnhem for almost 14 years. The first installment of this show was on show at Rozet Arnhem in cooperation with Museum Arnhem.
As part of the WinterLab programme of the ArtEZ Art Academy in Zwolle I developed the workshop #KillmongerTheInstitute. This two week long series of presentations and assignments uses the political frameworks of the Marvel Studio's blockbuster Black Panther as a conversation starter. Thought personal reflections and group discussions students explore their own voice, individuality, signature and message as an artist. How did their time at the academy (/institute) change them as an artist and as a person? Has the academy ever taken anything from them? What has the academy given them? Do they agree with what the academy is turning them in to? And if something has been taken, is it possible to reclaim what was lost?
The workshop helps to map out their personal development, qualities and insecurities through a decolonial approach of learning from each others past experiences, critically evaluating the impact of the institute and imagining future challenges.
The trajectory ends with the making of a group exhibit, with a storyline in which everyone is represented and everyone owns their own style, perspective and subject matter.
Spirit of Collection #2
What started off as a series of drawings, paintings and texts about forgotten histories, memories and heritage grew out to become a curatorial concept with art, music, performance and theatre: The Spirit of Collection #2. As part of the Nijmeegse Kunstnacht (Art Night) and in cooperation with the Africa Museum this project took place at the local concert hall Merleyn. While some of the protagonists of my stories have lost their physical bodies or disappeared in museum depots and archives, singer-songwriter Otion, the Night Theatre, artists Serge Kponton, Remco Visser, Jolijn Ceelen and the collective of Planet AiRich brought them back to life. Together with the local organizers we created an Afrofuturistic atmosphere, a future for historic figures, by which they became able to comment on the present. Their characters reflected their original attitude and personality, their agency, imagination and optimism.
Fana Richters/Planet AiRich (Suriname/NL)
Guillermo Blinker/Otion (Suriname/NL)
Remco Visser (NL)
Jolijn Ceelen (NL)
Serge Kponton (Benin/FRA)
Spirit of Collection #1
Notre Dame des Artes is an exhibition space within a historic church in the the heart of the picturesque town of Ubbergen. Together with designer Sander Zijlstra (Fuga Design Company) we broke down the white cube inside the church to bring out the characteristic architecture, depicting the crusifiction of Jesus. This resulted in an exhibition in which my work, about diasporic spirits and icons, that communicated with the architecture, black literature and texts written by myself, to question issues of representation and race relations and to truly occupy the exhibit space.
Folktales and Taboos #NL
In an initiative of Raquel van Haver and Admire Kamudzengerere (alumni Thami Mnyele and Rijksacademie), a group of young artists from Zimbabwe and the Netherlands worked together on the theme of Folktales and Taboos. In a continuation of the project that Van Haver previously carried out in Zimbabwe, with a larger group of Zimbabwean artists, the two young artists, Terrence Musekia and Option Dzikamai Nyahunzvi, were invited to The Netherlands where they did research and work on folklore in the Netherlands; in particular the folklore around the Dutch carnival. T
he result of this collaboration will be shown at SANAA. In collaboration with The Thami Mnyele Foundation (residency and workshop), CBK Zuidoost, The National Gallery Zimbabwe and Dzimbanhete Arts Interactions Trust.