Archive of Forgetfulness

Archive of forgetfulness © Goethe-Institut Johannesburg

The Archive of Forgetfulness online exhibition is live since the 12th of April 2021. We received over 300 submissions and 27 projects were selected for the online exhibition. 

Archive of Forgetfulness is an online exhibition. The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the frailty of basic urban infrastructure for so many. As states continue to wrestle the spread of the virus, the restrictions placed on movement, from regimented stay-at-home orders to the mass closure of borders has led to widespread immobility. Attendant as the project is, to our heightened sense of being and breathing in this world, we are also acutely aware of the longer and deeper histories of forced immobility and segregation, and of the extractive infrastructures and racial violence made material in how cities across the African continent were imagined. Drawing inspiration from Mahmoud Darwish’s prose Memory for Forgetfulness (1987), the exhibition questions how we might engage with what exists in the failure of memory, and that which can no longer be spoken; yet also acknowledges forgetting as an active part of remembering.

The Archive of Forgetfulness is an archive of mobility, infrastructure and story-telling. It holds together acts of remembering, collecting and gathering stories often untold. The contributions renew lines of connections, resurface forgotten conversations, and establish the beginnings of future collaborations. This project is a space for interrogating the archival gesture, from the bodily and spoken, to the written and performed.

The exhibition includes works by: Aleya Kassam (Kenya), Arafa Cynthia Hamadi (Tanzania/Kenya), Caio Simões de Araújo (South Africa), Cheriese Dilrajh (South Africa), DORMANTYOUTH (South Africa), Kamel Ghabte & Zouhair Lalaam (Morocco), Kwasi Darko (Ghana), Leandro Goddinho (Brazil), Lo-Def Film Factory (South Africa), Magolide Collective (South Africa), Malebona Maphutse (South Africa), Margarida Waco (Angola), Maria Gabriela Carrilho Aragão (Mozambique), Michael Salu (Nigeria), Moad Musbahi (Libya), Nkeiruka Oruche (Nigeria/USA), Nkgopoleng Moloi (South Africa), Nombuso Mathibela (South Africa), Princia Matungulu (Congo/South Africa), Rania Atef (Egypt), Shayna Rosendorff (South Africa), Sharief Zohairy (Egypt), Sonya Mwambu (Uganda), Hamedine Kane (Senegal/Mauritania) & Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro (France), Thelma Ndebele (South Africa), Tshifhiwa Itai Ratshiungo (South Africa), Umlilo (South Africa), and Wanjeri Gakuru (Kenya).

The project includes an 8-part podcast series, Conversations with Neighbours curated by Huda Tayob and Bongani Kona (September 2020- February 2021); an online exhibition in response to an open call; and a series of 6 regional projects which will unfold throughout 2021 curated by Ali Al-Adawy (Egypt), Eric Ngangare (Rwanda),  Jumoke Sanwo (Nigeria), Omnia Shawkat (Sudan), Princess Mhlongo (South Africa), and Zoubida Mseffer (Morocco). 

Follow us at @archiveofforgetfulness (IG) and @AoForgetfulness (Twitter) as the project unfolds. 
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