Monday, September 1, 2008

Farewell to Post-Colonialism

Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou

Guangdong Museum of Art
38 Yanyu Road, Er-sha dao, Guangzhou, China
Tel: 86 (20) 87351261
When: 6/9/2008 - 16/11/2008
Where: Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou
Region: Asia/East/Pearl River Delta
Country: China

Participating artists: Cláudia Cristóvão (Angola/Portugal/ the Netherlands), feld72 (Austria), Christian Jankowski (Germany), Daniel Malone (New Zealand), Carlos Garaicoa Manso (Cuba), Zarina Bhimji (UK), Ecke Bonk (Germany), Jean-Philippe Toussaint(France), Thembinkosi Goniwe (South Africa), Matts Leiderstam (Sweden), Tank TV (UK), Georges Adéagbo(Benin), Maria Thereza Alves (Brazil/USA), Conrad Botes (South Africa), Matthew Buckingham (USA), Lyn Carter (Canada), Maria Magdalena Compos-Pons&Neil Leonard (Cuba/USA), Joseph DeLappe (USA), Allan deSouza (Kenya/USA), Dilomprizulike (Nigeria), Maria Eichhorn (Germany), Mary Evans (Nigeria/UK), Tamar Guimaraes (USA/Danmark/Brazil), Sharon Hayes (USA), Kiluanji Kia Henda (Angola), Michelle Heon (Canada) Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa), John Kelly (Australia), Lin + Lam (USA/Canada), Hew Locke (UK), Felipe Mujica (Chile/USA), Vik Muniz (USA/Brazil), Mario Navarro (Chile), Uriel Orlow (UK/Switzerland), Steve Ouditt (Trinidad), Amilcar Packer (Brazil), Jenny Perlin (USA), Khaled Ramadan& Larissa Sansour (Lebanon), Hans Hamid Rasmussen (Norway), Neo Rauch (Germany), Josephine Starrs & Leon Cmielewski (Australia), Althea Thauberger (Canada), Barthélémy Toguo (Cameron/France), Gabriel Acevedo Velarde (Lima), Dalia Al-Kury (Jordan), Yasmina Ben Ari (Egypt), Mireille AstorE (Libanon), Reem Bader (Jordan), Kaya Behkalam (Iran), Alia El Bialy (Egypt), Hisham Bizri (Libanon), Shahram Entekhabi (Iran), Lamia Joreige (Libanon), Khaled Kafez (Egypt), Gülsün Karamustafa (Turkey), Nadine Khan (Egypt), Shula Lipski (Libanon), Waheeda Malullah (Bahrain), WaëL Noureddine (Libanon), Ahmet Ogut (Turkey), Ayman Ramadana (Egypt), Hamed Sahihi (Iran), Larissa Sansour ( Palestine / USA), Silke Schmickl (Germany), Rania Stephan (Libanon), Wooloo Productions (Denmark), Nanna Guldhammer Wraae (Denmark), Akram Zaatari (Libanon), Marc Behrens (Germany), Jens Brand (Germany), Werner Herzog (Germany), Kristina Ask (Denmark), Daniel Andersson (Finland), Avi Alpert (USA), Eric Anglès (France/USA), Ricardo Cuevas (Mexico), Asa Elzen (Sweden), Tamar Guimaraes (USA/Danmark/Brazil), Carla Herrerra-Prats (USA/Mexico), Jesal Kapadia (USA/India), Runo Lagomarsino (Sweden/Argentina), Steven Lam (USA), Erin Ming Lee (USA), Sarah Lookofsky (Denmark/USA), Kasper Akhøj (Denmark), Sreshta Rit Premnath (USA/India), Rebecka Thor (Sweden), Edward Schexnayder (USA), Dorothee Albrecht (Germany), Moira Zoitl (Austria), Daniela Comani (Italy), Different Voices (Nepal/Denmark/Sweden), Dreams of Art Spaces Collected (Transnational artistic group project), Stina Edblom (Sweden), Thomas Locher (Germany), Elke Marhoefer (Germany), Giancarlo Pazzanese (Chile), Oda Projesi (Turkey), Reynold Reynolds (USA), Asa Sonjasdotter (Sweden), Mayling To (UK), UNWETTER (Transnational artistic group project), Pablo Wendel (Germany)

This is a quote from a Blog by Thembinkosi Goniwe. I am presenting work in this show with Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons.

Thembinkosi Goniwe's blog

The Third Guanzhou Triennial, which will run from September 6th to November 16 2008, has proposed to say ‘Farewell to Post-Colonialism’. This proposition denotes the theoretical basis from which the curatorial team and participating artists, intellectuals, critics and scholars intend to explore their critical vision in revising post-colonialism. Driving this undertaking is an observation that post-colonialism has become defunct as a critical tool in spite of its significance and incentive as an intellectual tradition that has been crucial in criticizing political conditions. Argued is that, “in the real world, the political conditions criticised by post-colonialism have not receded, but in many ways are even further entrenched under the machinery of globalisation.” As such, “as a leading discourse for art curatorial practice and criticism, post-colonialism is showing its limitations in being increasingly institutionalized as an ideological concept. Not only is it losing its edge as a critical tool, it has generated restrictions that hinder the emergence of artistic creativity and fresh theoretical interface.”

There is no doubt that the ever changing social circumstances of contemporary society, particularly of the post-colonial worlds, require updated critical tools. Required is a need for sharp and reflective critical consciousness necessary to dealing with oppressive regimes and the machinery of capitalist globalisation that affect lives of people in dehumanizing ways. Yet critical consciousness at the level of theoretical articulation is not enough without practical action, without pragmatic ends. In fact, artistic theory without practical ends is as useless as artistic productions that are self-referential, self-serving in their obsession with high theory, in their circulation within elitist institutions mainly accessible to and accessed by schooled classes.

I therefore ask, what is the role of visual arts in society? How can visual arts affect people’s lives in ways that create hope? What economies and agencies do visual arts have in dealing with the rapid pace of changing social, political and economical conditions in societies under the stress of inter-nationalisms and trans-nationalisms? Other poignant questions: what is the point of initiatives or events such as biennales and triennials to the meaning of people’s life in their everyday social practices? Is the role and impact of creative arts and intellectual thoughts effective enough to contribute practical changes for the betterment of peoples’ lives in society, and how so or in what ways? Are museums and galleries effective sites for such practical changes for the betterment of peoples’ lives, peoples who are not privileged to bourgeoisie or affluent lifestyle around which contemporary art revolves?