In a large participative special exhibition, the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum (RJM) in Cologne is exploring the theme of anticolonial resistance. The exhibition highlights various concepts, practices, and historical cases of resistance against colonialism and its continuing repercussions today.
As part of the project, curators, artists and activists from the local and international community have been invited to design four autonomous rooms. The Nigerian artist Peju Layiwola addresses the restitution debates surrounding cultural assets from the Kingdom of Benin (Nigeria), and the Namibian activists Esther Utjiua Muinjangue and Ida Hoffmann investigate the genocide of the Herero and Nama in Namibia. The Hungarian curator for contemporary art and director of ERIAC (European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture/Berlin) Tímea Junghaus sheds light on the long history of resistance of the Sinti and Roma in contemporary art in Europe, and the activists Elizaveta Khan and Mona Leitmeier of InHaus Köln e.V. discuss solidarity and civil disobedience.
Stories and Forms of Resistance
The collaboratively designed rooms will be supplemented by objects from the RJM ethnographic collection, historical documents, personal items and works of contemporary art. In addition to well-known figures and moments of resistance, the exhibition also highlights lesser known stories of the past and present. Various aspects of this subject are presented in five theme-based chapters, including resistance manifested in the form of violent rebellions, wars, protests and political and artistic activism; resistance through clandestine practices and encrypted messages, and resistance through trauma work, care work and active solidarity. The epilogue posits the question of how resistance can translate into resilience.
The exhibition features an experimental, participative format and will be continually developed in workshops in the exhibition space with artists, school classes, university students and project groups. To enable participants to gather and jointly engage in action, special areas will be set up within the exhibition, where an extensive accompanying programme of workshops, performances, film presentations and discussions will take place.
General artistic director: Nanette Snoep
Curators of autonomous spaces “It’s Yours!”: Esther Utjiua Muinjangue & Ida Hoffmann, Peju Layiwola, Tímea Junghaus, Integrationshaus (In-Haus e.V.) Köln-Kalk mit Elizaveta Khan, Mona Leitmeier, Sae Yun Jung, Salman Abdo und Rita Bomkamp
Artists in Residence: Rokia Bamba (Music), Bahar Gökten & Daniela Rodriguez Romero (Urban Dance), Kiri Dalena (Colonial Photography), Francis Oghuma (Real Time Documentary)
Artists: Florisse Adjanohoun, Christie Akumabor, Osaze Amadasun, Kader Attia, Roger Atikpo, Belkis Ayón, Marcel Djondo, Omar Victor Diop, Nwakuso Edozien, Robert Gabris, Jimoh Ganiyu, Anani Gbeteglo, Ayrson Heráclito, indieguerillas, Patricia Kaersenhout, Eustache Kamouna, Grada Kilomba, Mohammed Laouli, Alao Lukman, Peter Magubane, Dhuwarrwarr Marika, Tshibumba Kanda Matulu, Medu Art Ensemble, Luiza Prado de O. Martins, Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Keviselie/Hans Ragnar Mathisen, Monday Midnite, Franky Mindja, Gaëtan Noussouglo, Lapiztola, Nura Qureshi, Emília Rigová, Mamadou Sall, Juan Manuel Sandoval, Diego Sandoval Ávila, Selma Selman, The Singh Twins, Alfred Ullrich, Huỳnh Văn Thuận, Kara Walker, Wantok Musik Foundation, Tania Willard, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Ernesto Yerena
Credit: Omar Victor Diop, Jean-Baptiste Belley, 2014, Series Diaspora, Pigment inkjet printing on Harman By Hahnemuhle paper © Omar Victor Diop, Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.