Art project Echoes of the South Atlantic

Art project: Rethinking the aesthetics of the colony
Art project: Rethinking the aesthetics of the colony | Photo: Hirosuke Kitamura © Studio Musa M. Mattiuzzi
  • 23. April 2018 — 31. December 2021

  • Postcolonial world order, Culture of memory, Postcolonial art production, Reappraisal of the colonial past

  • Berlin (Germany); Dakar (Senegal); Salvador (Brazil)

What cultural interrelations exist today between Africa and South America, after centuries of European hegemony and colonisation? What might the cultural future of the South Atlantic look like? More than twenty artists and intellectuals from Africa, South America and Europe jointly developed projects in the fields of performance, film, music and visual arts fathoming the potentials of South-South relations.

The artistic explorations highlight aspects of cultural connections between Africa, South America and Europe. As a content bracket, a conference was planned on each of the three continents: A conference with the Federal University UFBA in Salvador de Bahia was held in April 2018 and one with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Berlin in July 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital exhibition Carnival in the Making will conclude the three-year project from 24 April 2021 onwards, replacing the planned third conference in Dakar as part of the Dak'Art 2020 Biennial.

The title Carnival in the Making underlines the processual and fragmentary nature of the works presented, which taken together reveal a lively, multi-layered, carnivalesque cultural scene. Many projects were interrupted by the pandemic and set out on new, improvised paths during the course of the project. The resulting multimedia exhibition includes film contributions, essays, photographs and performances by more than twenty artists and intellectuals from all three continents, among them Musa Mattiuzzi, Gabi Ngcobo and António Ole.

Until the 15th century, the Atlantic was a perceptible border between Africa and Europe on one side and America on the other. The overcoming of this border was followed by the well-known history of “discovery”, colonisation, enslavement, exploitation, migration and wealth in Europe. The exchange between the three continents thus became more dynamic and resulted in a cultural linkage that changed the three continents fundamentally. Meanwhile, the political, cultural and economic constellations have changed and Europe is losing its relative importance. At the same time, the mutual interest and exchange between Africa and South America is increasing.

What about the Atlantic Triangle in the 21st century, asked the conference Echos des Südatlantiks – Über die Zukunft süd-transatlantischer Beziehungen (Echoes of the South Atlantic - 2019 in Berlin. The kick-off conference in Salvador da Bahia (Brazil) in 2018 focused primarily on new historiographies, migration and expulsion, and the civil societies of the future.

Video: The keynote “A Rise in Humanity” by Felwine Sarr 2019 at the conference in Berlin:

Responsible at the Goethe-Institut:
Julian Fuchs and Anja Riedeberger – Project Coordinators in the Goethe-Institut São Paulo (Brazil)

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