Decoloniality, International Solidarity and Trans-national collaboration between Namibia and Germany – 1990 and Beyond
Guest: Esmeralda Cloete
Hosted by Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja and Therese Koppe
Sa. 3.12.22 | 16:00 – 18:30 Uhr
Eintritt frei | online event
Namibian artist Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja and German filmmaker Therese Koppe host two online/ hybrid dicussion events in the framework of gesellschaften 2022. Their collaboration started at the beginning of this year unfolding around questions of transnational artistic collaboration, its potential for solidarity and challenges coming along with the process. How can we work together in a complex web of histories and in the context of decolonial struggles? What artistic, cultural and activist approaches can we share to form alliances? And how can we connect through those?
On 3rd and 4th December we invite the artists, cultural workers and activists Hildegard Titus (Windhoek/Namibia), Esmeralda Cloete (Windhoek/Namibia) and Laura Horelli (Berlin/ Germany), to disuss their artistic practices in relation to the political questions that they explore. In the context of historical and contemporary relations between Namibia and (East)Germany the two day discussion event departs from the 1989-1990 moment which is marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall and Namibia’s coming to independence from colonialism and apartheid.
We see this as a moment of international solidarity which reminds us of the unfinished work of decolonization. Here, we are thinking about the rise of ‘cultural collaboration’ (in terms of artistic, activist and other modes of cultural work) between Namibia and Germany which we would like to discuss alongside the presentation of current artistic projects by the invited guests.
“It is certainly worth critically reflecting on solidarity as an essential aspect of any social movement. More so, it is also vital to give thought to how solidarity has historically played out and what contemporary movements for equality and social justice have (or have not) learned from such histories.” – Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja in Changes in Direction – a Journal (Archive Books, 2021 by Laura Horelli)
In the first online session on 3rd December, Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja will offer a provocation through a visual history of international solidarity in relation to contemporary modes of cultural exchange between contemporary Namibian and German artists. The presentation will emphasize notions of decolonial love as central to the labour of international solidarity. Esmeralda Cloete will share reflections from her role as Raporteur and group facilitator in the 2019 trans-national project, Owela Festival: The Future of Work curated by Kaleni, a collective of Namibian and German artists. Cloete’s reflections will highlight the difficult dialogues and possibilities of enhancing this kind of collaborative work.
On 4th December, we invite Namibian artist, decolonial activist and cultural worker Hildegard Titus (online) and Finnish artist Laura Horelli (physically present at Vierte Welt) to present their current artistic and political practice drawing a connection between historical and contemporary questions and challenges around the complex histories between Namibia and Germany and its decolonial struggles today. Laura Horelli will present her book Changes in Direction – a Journal (Archive Books, 2021). It provides multivocal and transnational African-European statements to current decoloniality debates from different perspectives. The Finnish-German artist Laura Horelli engages with the traumatic and complex histories of colonialism and international solidarity between East Germany, Finland and Namibia, staging micro-historical interventions in public spaces. Her films transform the archive into a space – and publication – of reflective engagement.
In the two sessions we will discuss with Laura Horelli, Hildegard Titus and Esmeralda Cloete about their experiences in working with European institutions/ funding structures in the arts & culture context, especially in regards to Namibia and Germany but also beyond. How do individual, or collective decolonial strategies in transnational collaborations look like from perspectives at the intersection of art, artistic research and political activism? How does the notion of international solidarity manifest in this contemporary trans-cultural work?
We would like to explore these questions in the two online/hybrid discussion events with other cultural workers, activists and scholars from Namibia and Germany.
Esmeralda Cloete is creative arts practitioner and cultural worker from Namibia. She is a qualified drama therapist and holds a MA from the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa. As facilitator, Esmeralda has worked across clinical, educational and community settings holding process for children and young people. She is passionate about using the arts for healing, social change and personal growth and development. She enjoys being spaces of learning, creativity and connection. Together with Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja she is part of Owela Collective.
Laura Horelli, born 1976 in Helsinki, grew up partly in Nairobi and London and lives in Berlin. In her artistic work, which is mostly in the medium of digital film, she explores the intersection of private and public space. She is interested in representations and mediations of the past and takes a micro-historical approach. Her work has been shown at numerous exhibitions and film festivals internationally since the late 1990s. Horelli‘s multivocal and transnational artist book Changes in Direction – a Journal (Archive Books, 2021), co-edited with Heidi Brunnschweiler, contains contributions by the authors Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, Doreen Mende and Olli Löytty. www.laurahorelli.com
Hildegard Titus is a freelance photojournalist, decolonial activist, filmmaker, comedian and curator based in Windhoek. Her work covers the topics of gender, race, sexuality and identity politics. She has a Bachelor of Honours in Photojournalism from the London College of Communication. In June 2020, Hildegard started a petition titled A Curt Farewell to advocate for removing and relocating the Curt von Francois Statue to a museum. She conducts research and interviews around the German colonial period and investigates its connection to contemporary colonial legacies and consequences. She founded EFANO EFANO Gallery in November of 2020, which aims to exhibit, archive and curate exhibitions of up-and-coming Namibian artists (with a special focus on black LGBTQIA+ artists and artists of colour and women ) whose work is connected to Namibia or are based in Namibia.
Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja is a cultural worker, educator and writer with practice-research interests in performance, archives and public culture. He is currently based in Windhoek, Namibia after completing his PhD in Performance Studies at the University of Cape Town. Mushaandja’s work has been performed widely at festivals, museums, theatres and archives in India, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Cameroon, Senegal and Namibia. He also has been involved in curative projects on public learning and culture, such as the John Muafangejo Season (2016– 2017); Operation Odalate Naiteke (2018–2020) and Owela Festival (2019). He is the author of the essay, “’Making Love’: Solidarity in Decolonial Times”, published in Laura Horelli’s book Changes in Direction – A journal.
Therese Koppe (*1985) is a queer filmmaker and author born and raised in East-Berlin. Her filmic and artistic practice is dedicated to female and queer biographies that embody emancipatory strategies and various forms of resistance. She is interested in the critical reflection of historiography and memory culture by exploring possible continuities working with intergenerational dialogue as an impulse for re-writing histories. Her film A QUIET RESISTANCE (74 min., 2019) is a multi-layered documentary portrait, a film about life, art and self-created freedom in the GDR, about queer love in old age and the question of how to remain true to oneself and one’s ideals. Therese is a scholarship holder of the Berlin Artist Fund Film/ Video (2022) and in the selection committee of the Duisburg Film Week.
Foto: Hope and Optimism by John Muanfangejo (linocut, 1984)
gesellschaften 2022 is funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds (HKF)