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Symposium: Untold (Hi)stories

Exhibition and symposium on decolonization of art and society

How can art overcome the colonialist logic that has shaped how Western societies are organized?

Psychoanalysis is teaching us that for a traumatized individual the act of sharing its experience through speaking is as vital as the need for light, water, bread, and silence. It is necessary for this individual to narrate, remember, understand and explain the world that has turned her/him into a victim. Therefore, narrating colonial (hi)stories, and not forgetting and repressing them, is perhaps the most efficient way to overcome colonial trauma. But how could one narrate a traumatic experience when the available vocabulary is the very same that has violated one once before?

The colonial-capitalist-patriarchal epistemological hegemony has silenced the narratives of the “subaltern peoples” and has made it impossible to establish a diverse political and cultural reality, both in the South and in the North of the globe. Art, as a form of language and knowledge, can give these forgotten and silenced narratives an expression, but also allows new ethics and a new way of understanding human relations to emerge. In this context, it is necessary to think about the role that art has been playing in the process of establishing Eurocentric epistemological dominance and creating thereby marginalized identities throughout history, as well as it is important to pay attention on the effort that contemporary artists have done and are doing to change this reality.

Untold (Hi)stories is a group exhibition and a symposium initiated by Filipe Lippe and curated together with M.Bassy that debates on the decolonization of epistemologies, historical narratives, art and society. It will look at how decolonial artistic practices have transgressed fixed disciplines in art, expanded established aesthetic notions and challenged dominant narratives while (re)writing personal and collective (hi)stories. The selected works of the exhibition, as well as the symposium, will problematize issues related to colonial memories, marginalization of identities, epistemic disobedience, territory, historical narration, migration and (de)coloniality. The exhibition will open on the 9th November at M.Bassy and will bring together works from six international artists such as Fernando Codeço, Sam Durant, Ana Hupe, Harald Kisiedu, Magda Korsinsky and Filipe Lippe. The exhibition is curated by Filipe Lippe & M.Bassy with support of the Augstein Stiftung and in cooperation with the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK).


14 November 2019 in the HFBK's auditorium

10 am
Panel 1: Colonial memories, narration and decolonization of thinking in curatorial practices

  • Cristiana Tejo (sociologist and independent curator)
  • Nomaduma Rosa Masilela (artist, curator and writer)

12:00 Lunch break

12:30 pm
Panel 2: Archives and decentralization

  • Monilola Ilupeju (artist and curator, Colonial Neighbours - SAVVY Contemporary)
  • Julia Naidin (curator and philosopher)

2 pm
Panel 3: Intersections and interdisciplinarity (music, art, cinema, poetry and activism)

  • Harald Kisiedu (Jazz musician and music historian)
  • Michaela Ott (Prof. at HFBK Hamburg)
  • Musa Okwonga (author, journalist and spoken word artist)

Symposium mediation:

  • Astrid Mania (Prof. at HFBK Hamburg)
  • Filipe Lippe (PhD candidate at HFBK Hamburg)