MASP

ART AND DECOLONIZATION

10.15-16
TUE [10AM-4PM]
WED [10:30AM-5:30PM]

This is the second seminar in a long-term project since 2018, jointly organized with Afterall, a research and publishing center dedicated to contemporary art and the history of exhibitions at the University of Arts in London. The first seminar took place in October 2018, attended by Bambi Ceuppens, Candice Hopkins, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza, Esther Gabara, Julieta González, Lewis R. Gordon, Luciana Ballestrin Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Rolando Vázquez, Shela Sheikh, Suely Rolnik, and Yaiza Hernández Velázquez

The seminar is a forum for cultural theorists, curators and artists from South America, Africa, United States and Europe to raise questions and proposals for the reinterpretation of non-canonical and decolonized museum exhibitions and collections. Seminar participants address the emergence of new artistic and curatorial practices which explicitly question and criticize colonial legacies in art, curation and critical art writing. It is intended that this seminar should stimulate further discussion and research on decolonization, decolonial and postcolonial studies.

FREE DAILY EVENT REGISTRATIONS
Tickets will be withdrawn one hour before the seminar starts at the museum's box office. Each entry is valid for one day of the event. To attend the two days, you must withdraw ticket on both dates.

To receive the participation certificate, you must register your email and full name and present an official document. The certificates will be sent to the registered email only to those who attend the two days of the seminar.

Organization: Adriano Pedrosa, Amanda Carneiro, André Mesquita, Caroline Woodley and Mark Lewis, with the collaboration of Yaiza Hernández Velázquez.
Mediation: Amanda Carneiro, Fernando Oliva, Isabella Rjeille, Olivia Ardui, and Tomás Toledo 

PROGRAM

Tuesday, Oct.15
10 AM
Introduction with Adriano Pedrosa and Mark Lewis.

10:30AM – 12:30PM
WANDA NANIBUSH

Why Decolonize a Museum when you can Center Indigenous art
Wanda Nanibush discusses strategies of decolonization versus centering in relation to collecting and exhibiting Indigenous art in the museum. She will also touch on the importance of contemporary Indigenous art in any attempt at de-colonial museum practice.

JOTA MOMBAÇA
The Big House Maze: Representation and Futurity

The Big House Maze will be studied not only as a historical figure, associated with the total momentum of the colonial slave system, but as a descriptor of the world-as-we-know-it and of the ways of updating the global infrastructure derived from modernity-coloniality and, therefore, implicated in the continuity of black and indigenous subjections over time. The notions of representation and futurity will therefore be questioned regarding their intertwining with economic and symbolic infra- and infrastructures. Thus, from a political point of view, the presentation will seek to touch the limits of the politics of representation and the generative possibilities of a futurity which neither obeys the linearity of time nor the confinements of realism and representativeness.

GABI NGCOBO
Detoxifying is part of Decolonizing Colonial "Innocence"

In this lecture Gabi Ngcobo will discuss the increasingly more urgent move towards decolonizing art and its institutions and how in this process we run the risk that those in power or powerful positions situate themselves as the custodians of the very discourses they have been called upon to own up to. Ngcobo will draw on recent collaborative projects with a focus on All in a Day’s Eye: The Politics of Innocence in the Javett Art Collection at the newly inaugurated Javett Art Center at the University of Pretoria. The exhibition draws from the collection of the Javett Family Collection, featuring works by artists working in the 20 th century, and beyond. A closer look into the collection uncovers themes ranging from the politics of education, innocence, spatial politics, religion and spirituality, nature, politics of representation and the
histories of labour.

2PM - 4PM
NANA ADUSEI-POKU
Re-Imagining the Sanctuary of Industry and Dreams- The Challenge of Curating loss

This interdisciplinary talk speculatively utilizes amongst other examples the life, work and aspirations of New York Sculptress Augusta Savage in order to engage with the question of loss and decolonial approaches to curating. How can we curate and engage with the works and legacies of artists, whose work and lives are intrinsically bound to the aftermath of colonial epistemic and systemic violence that shaped their lives? In which way is it possible to convey absence as tool for the contemporary and how can we be involved with care and express curatorially what I argue is deeply embedded in Black Cultures- the notion of an actualization that has yet to come into being.

ROBERT ALDRICH
Revisiting Colonial Museums: The Problems of Decolonisation and the Legacies of Empire

Museums built to display the art and artefacts of conquered countries – and to exhibit European ‘achievements’ overseas – formed an important part of colonial project at home.  With decolonisation, these institutions lost their raison d’être as conduits of colonialist propaganda, and since that time they had had, on various occasions, to reinvent themselves.  In revisiting the former colonial museums of Amsterdam (Tropenmuseum), Brussels (Africa Museum) and Paris (now an immigration museum), this presentation will consider the ways and degrees of success of three key museums in ‘decolonising’ their collections and presentations.  It will also discuss some contemporary issues surrounding the legacies of colonialism in museums, including repatriation of objects and controversies surrounding new or proposed museums in Berlin and Lisbon.

Wednesday, Oct.16
10:30AM-12:30PM
KAILANI POLZAK

Making Material Histories: Polyvocal Interpretation and Institutional Collections
In this presentation, I will discuss an exhibition that I recently co-curated for the Williams College Museum of Art.  Resurfacing the histories that link Williams College and the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, the exhibition drew entirely from existing collections at the college. From the taxonomies employed by the museum’s database, to the college landscape, very few lenses onto these histories were available to members of the campus community. As such, Sonnet Coggins (my co-curator) and I elected to make specific interpretive decisions that focused the viewer’s attention on the power of naming and narrative. Whether revealing how fraught and erroneous past museum practice has been in the labeling of objects, or reveling in the multiple perspectives offered by contributors of indigenous and settler ancestry (including students, professors, curators, and pastors), the project was as much about Williams-Hawaiʻi histories as it was about the practice of art history itself.

PEDRO DE NIEMEYER CESARINO
Stubborn bodies and objects: display and classification of other people's things

The presentation will deal with the connection between bodies and things in non-Western societies, such as the Amerindians, and the dilemmas related to their reconfiguration by the institutional devices and conceptual regimes associated with the notion of art. The idea is to offer a reflection on the ontological status of things associated with the conceptions of a person marked by multiplicity, partibility and connectivity, potentially irreducible to the modes of classification and categorization of objects by imperial regimes.

ROSANE BORGES
Decolonization of the look: challenges for the visual arts

Historically discriminated groups have almost always been in the condition of glance commodities. From the selection and choice of black bodies to plunder the slave-colonial market to the present day, we have witnessed a visual system, with its own grammar, that supports forms of denial that proved successful in constructing dividing lines between “us” and the "others", between "civilized" and "barbarian". The role of visual arts in the success of this venture is evident and unquestionable. Despite the changes made in recent years, the interference of the colonizing gaze still has devastating effects on the modes of image production and reception. This discussion aims to present a defense around the need to decolonize our gaze so that we can break down with stiff structures that place subordinate groups (black, indigenous, women, LGBTQI +) into imagetical prisons.

2PM - 4PM
LEA VAN DER VINDE
Rethinking the Colonial Legacy of Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen at the Mauritshuis

The Mauritshuis was named after the man who had it built: Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen. From the perspective of an art museum, the Mauritshuis used to primarily emphasize his importance to art, architecture and science. However, Johan Maurits’s life story is also part of Dutch colonial history, particularly the trans-Atlantic slave trade – topics that until recently were hardly touched upon in the museum. In this lecture I will reflect on the process of growing consciousness concerning the way the Mauritshuis shares information on Johan Maurits with the public, resulting, among other things, in the exhibition Shifting Image – In Search of Johan Maurits (April 4 – July 7, 2019). This exhibition examined a diversity of perspectives on the history of Johan Maurits and Dutch Brazil. I will share some of the challenges curating this exhibition, also dealing specifically with the polarized public debate on Johan Maurits and national history in the Netherlands.

LILIA MORITZ SCHWARCZ
Imperial patronage in the past and the present: permanent exhibitions and curatorial projects in some Brazilian museums

Since the 1970s, postcolonial studies have made a real epistemological turn by questioning Eurocentric narratives hitherto understood as universal, evolutionary, and mandatory civilizing models. They also challenged various areas of knowledge, such as literary criticism, the social sciences, politics, history, and philosophy, as well as art history and museum practices. The purpose of this presentation will be to analyze how academic works produced in 19th century Brazil, and under the patronage of Emperor Pedro II, are currently presented in institutions such as MASP, the Pinacoteca and the Museu de Belas Artes. The assumption is that they still appear in a naturalized way, as if they were ethnographies or visual documents of past events. It is also interesting to comment on the curatorial projects in which they are inserted and which tend to choose diachrony as an objective standard. We will discuss works by Pedro Américo de Figueiredo e Melo, Victor Meirelles and José Maria de Medeiros.

LUIZ FELIPE DE ALENCASTRO
Territoriality and decolonization: the Brazilian case

The continuity of Brazil's colonial history is not restricted to the continuity of the Brazilian colonial territory. Paulistas invaded Spanish lands in the Southern Cone to loot villages and enslave indigenous people. Moreover, the settlers of Brazil and later the Brazilians – and not only the Portuguese – actively participated in the plundering of the territory and the Angolan and African people from other areas of Africa. Between the mid-seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, at least 13 military expeditions embarked in Brazil to assist the settlers of Angola in expanding the slave trade networks. Brazilian flagged ships went to African ports to embark on enslaved ships sold by their local agents from 1822 until 1850. Thus, the debate on colonization and decolonization involves, in the Brazilian case, the relationship of the colonists and the dominant national communities with the Indigenous, but also with the Africans.

4:30PM - 5:30PM
Conference
MARZ SAFFORE
Decolonizing Our Institutions/Decolonizing Our Cities

This presentation will center the work of Decolonize This Place (DTP), a New York City-based action-oriented movement focused on six strands of struggle: Indigenous struggle, Black Liberation, Free Palestine, dismantling patriarchy, global wage workers, and de-gentrification. As artists, educators, writers, activists, organizers and more, much of our work has sought to unsettle and hold our institutions accountable to the people they claim to serve and represent, demanding the reversal of the settler colonial colonial project which they advance by beginning a process of decolonization. Join Marz Saffore, a member of MTL+ Collective (the founders and facilitators of DTP), as she shares the work and experiences as a starting place for a larger discussion around how decolonial organizing and direct action can look in our cities.

participants

GABI NGCOBO
An artist, curator and educator living in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since the early 2000s Ngcobo has been engaged in collaborative artistic, curatorial, and educational projects in South Africa and on an international scope. Recently she curated the 10th Berlin Biennale titled We don’t need another hero (2018) and was one of the co-curators of the 32nd Sao Paulo Bienal (2016). She is a founding member of the Johannesburg based collaborative platforms NGO – Nothing Gets Organised and Center for Historical Reenactments.

JOTA MOMBAÇA
Non-binary bicha, born and raised in Northeast Brazil. Writes, performs and does academic studies around the relationships between monstrosity and humanity, kuir studies, decolonial turns, political intersectionality, anti-colonial justice, redistribution of violence, visionary fiction and tensions between ethics, aesthetics, art and politics in the production of knowledge. of the globalized southern-south.

KAILANI POLZAK
Assistant Professor of Art at Williams College in Massachusetts. She specializes in European visual culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a particular focus on questions of intercultural contact, race, and colonialism in representations of the Pacific. Her research in Hawai’i, France, Germany, England, Aotearoa–New Zealand, and Australia was supported by the Social Science Research Council, The Georges Lurcy Foundation, and a C3 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship. An exhibition that she co-curated ʻThe Field is The World’: 'Williams, Hawaiʻi, and Material Histories in the Making was on view at the Williams College Museum of Art in 2018. 

LEA VAN DER VINDE
An art historian, specialized in 17th and 18th century Dutch painting. She is a curator at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, The Netherlands, where she has been responsible for exhibitions including The Frick Collection – Art Treasures from New York (2015) and more recently Shifting Image – In Search of Johan Maurits (2019), a critical exploration of the image of the founder of the building in which the Mauritshuis museum is situated. Van der Vinde is also involved in a multi-year research project on Johan Maurits.

LILIA MORITZ SCHWARCZ
Full professor at the Department of Anthropology at USP, and Global Scholar at Princeton. She also acts as adjunct curator for MASP histories, where she participated in the curatorial team of the following exhibitions: Histórias da infância (2016), Histórias da sexualidade (2017), Histórias afro-atlânticas (2018), and Histórias das mulheres: artistas antes de 1900 (2019). Authored a series of books and catalogs such as: Espetáculo das raças (1993), As barbas do Imperador (1998), Histórias Mestiças (2016, with Adriano Pedrosa), A batalha do Avaí (2013, with Lúcia Stumpf and Carlos Lima) and Pérola imperfeita: as histórias e a história de Adriana Varejão (2014).  

LUIZ FELIPE DE ALENCASTRO
Holds a History PhD from the Université Paris X and a teaching degree from the Institute of Economics at Unicamp. Taught at the Université de Paris VIII, the Université de Rouen and at Unicamp. CEBRAP Researcher. Professor of Brazilian History, Université de Paris-Sorbonne, emeritus professor at the same university. Member of the Academy of Europe. Coordinator of the South Atlantic Studies Center and professor at the São Paulo School of Economics - FGV (2014-). Author of O Trato dos Viventes, co-author of 4 books, chapters and articles in scientific journals from Brazil and abroad.

MARZ SAFFORE
An artist, organizer, and educator born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. In 2017, she earned her M.F.A. in Studio Art from New York University Steinhardt. Her multimedia art practice blurs the line between that which is art/culture, political/personal, and private/public through video, performance, and installation. Marz is a member of MTL+ Collective, a group of artists, writers, and educators who combine research and aesthetics in political action. MTL+ Collective founded and facilitates Decolonize This Place, a collaboration between cultural producers and political organizers across struggles and borders. This Fall, Marzbegins her second year of doctoral studies in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU Steinhardt.

NANA ADUSEI-POKU
Senior Academic Advisor and Luma Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Studies and Contemporary Art at Bard College. She was previously Visiting Professor in Art History of the African Diaspora at The Cooper Union in New York City. Her articles have been published in Nka- Journal of Contemporary African Art, eflux, Kunstforum International, Flashart!, L’Internationale, and Darkmatter a.o. She curated a.o. the event Performances of No-thingness at the Academy of Arts Berlin in 2018 and the program: Longing on a Large Scale in conjunction with Todd Gray's Exhibition Eucledian Gris Gris at Pomona College Museum of Art 2019-2020.

PEDRO DE NIEMEYER CESARINO
Professor at the Department of Anthropology, FFLCH/USP. Author of Oniska – poética do xamanismo na Amazônia (Perspective, 2011), as well as other books and articles devoted to indigenous ethnology and the relationship between anthropology, literature and art.

ROBERT ALDRICH
Professor of European History at the University of Sydney.  Recent publications include Banished Potentates: Dethroning and exiling indigenous monarchs under British and French colonial rule, 1815-1955 (2018) and the co-edited Monarchies and Decolonisation in Asia (2019).  He is also author of Vestiges of the Colonial Empire in France: Monuments, Museums and Colonial Memories (2005; updated French edition, 2011), ‘Colonial museums in a postcolonial Europe’, in African and Black Disaspora (2009), ‘The Impossible Colonial Museum’, in Nicolas Bancel et al. (eds), Colonial Culture in France (2013), and ‘Old Colonial Sites and New Uses in Contemporary Paris’, in Daniel E. Coslett (ed.), Neocolonialism and Built Heritage: Echoes of Empire in Africa, Asia, and Europe (2019).

ROSANE BORGES
Journalist, PhD in communication sciences, collaborating professor of the research group Colabor (ECA-USP). Previously, national coordinator of the National Center for Information and Reference in Black Culture (CNIRC) at the Palmares/MinC Cultural Foundation (2013). Writer for Carta Capital Digital magazine and the Jornalistas Livres website. She is the Honor Counselor of the CORE (Council Reinventing Education) and author and organizer of several books, including: Unfaithful Mirror: The Negro in Brazilian Journalism (2004), Media and Racism (2012), Sketches of a Present Tense (2016).

WANDA NANIBUSH
An Anishinaabe-kwe curator, image and word warrior and community organizer from Beausoleil First Nation. Currently she is the inaugural curator of Indigenous Art and co-head of the Indigenous+Canadian Art dept at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Three of her current exhibitions are touring including her latest survey of Rebecca Belmore, Facing the Monumental.