Decolonial Documents: Part One – 非殖民化文件:第一部分

Current conversations around decolonizing culture are not new: they are informed by multiple histories that have questioned Western hegemony. In the first of a six-part series, we asked five artists, curators and writers whose work has been involved with this challenge to discuss the projects that have informed their thinking – from exhibitions and publications to more intangible and transient networks, whose effects are often more felt than documented, though no less significant.

Click on the artist’s name to jump to their entry.

Ângela Ferreira
Hou Hanru
Natasha Ginwala
Shanay Jhaveri
Omar Berrada


South Africa’s Cultural Boycott

Ângela Ferreira
Born in Mozambique, Ângela Ferreira  grew up in South Africa. She lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal, where she teaches Fine Art at Lisbon University. This year, she has had solo presentations at MAAT, Lisbon, Galeria João Esteves de Oliveira, Lisbon, and Museu Internacional de Escultura Contemporânea, Santo Tirso, Portugal, and her work has been included in group exhibitions at Museu Coleção de Serralves, Porto, Portugal, and Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa. Her work is on show as part of the 12th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, until 11 November.


Decolonial Documents: Part One - 非殖民化文件:第一部分

Ângela Ferreira, ‘Pan African Unity Mural’, 2018, exhibition view at MAAT, Lisbon. Detail depicting a re-creation (from a photograph) of a portion of mural painted by the CAP Muralist Group (a collective of 14 artists, including Ferreira) at Community House in Salt River, Cape Town, 1986–87. The original mural remains in situ at Community House – a multi-purpose space for civic engagement, action and debate, and a worker and community resource. Courtesy: the artist and MAAT, Lisbon

Incisive criticality of the West existed on the streets of colonial cities like Cape Town long before, and despite, the onset of postcolonial discourse. My practice is rooted in this grounded criticality.

The struggle against apartheid was also a struggle of representation: apartheid was clearly based on a Western model, so imagining different African futures often involved distrust of Western tenets. Today, issues of representation and identity have found broader traction because we are not yet living and working in fully inclusive contexts – whether continents and countries, or museums and exhibitions. The contours of the concepts have naturally shifted, but their pertinence has not waned.

My training as an artist at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the 1980s followed the British art-school model, focusing on specialized knowledge of Western modern and contemporary art. Luckily, I was surrounded by some intelligent youth (mostly white, although the university did admit a small number of black students) who contested the political system and were dissatisfied with the course’s lack of relevance to our deeply unjust society. We wanted to make art that addressed the context and its traumatic history, and which would contribute to the struggle. We fostered friendships with black artists of our own age, who were generous enough to include us in their conversations and activities; joined multiracial community art spaces, like the Community Arts Project (CAP); formed co-operatives, like the Gardens Media Group and the CAP Muralist Group; worked on poster designs for unions and political organizations; and set up a women’s group making collaborative ceramic projects. These were the loose formations that fostered my inclusive education.

Our discussions were intense; sometimes, a shocking socialization. The venues included community halls, funerals and political gatherings. We watched and analyzed the first theoretical postcolonial shifts and questioned exhibitions like ‘Magiciens de la Terre’, which took place at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1989. Seen from a distance, in the context of the cultural boycott of South Africa, we suspected the exhibition constituted a new form of exoticism and neo-colonial museological practice. Questions like ‘who represents whom?’ were hotly debated as we tried not to lose control of our own agency. Despite maintaing a certain respect for his work, we were critical of artists such as Anthony Caro, who broke the boycott to visit UCT in 1980. We rejected art events that we felt were co-opted by the state or by big business, and we studied the practices of Russian constructivists, Mexican muralists and individual artists including Hans Haacke and David Hlongwane. Our drive to forge new futures was captured in the title of one of the exhibitions, ‘About Time: Images of South Africa’ (1987), which was shut down soon after its opening.

1st Havana Biennale, 1984, and the Emergence of Biennials of the Global South

Hou Hanru
Hou Hanru is a critic and curator based between Paris, France, San Francisco, USA, and Rome, Italy, where he is artistic director of MAXXI, National Museum of 21st Century Arts. Over the past two decades, he has curated or co-curated more than 100 exhibitions at institutions and events around the world.


Decolonial Documents: Part One - 非殖民化文件:第一部分

KCHO (Alexis Leyva Machado), Para olvidar (To Forget), 1995, installation view at the 1st Gwangju Biennale. Courtesy: the artist and Gwangju Biennale 

The emergence, since the mid-1980s, of biennials in cities from Havana (1984) to Istanbul (1987) to Gwangju (1995) attests to the huge desire in what we today term the Global South to embed international exhibitions in specific contexts and locations. Today, many of the most innovative biennials are happening outside of the West. The first outstanding example of these initiatives is the Havana Biennale. Founded in 1984, in the midst of the cold war, it was set up by a group of Cuban curators to provide a platform for contemporary artists from what was then known as the Third World. Like many of the biennials that have followed, it aimed for a kind of grassroots connection to the local context. In response to geopolitical realities, such initiatives have often adopted flexible approaches, which have, in turn, influenced the ‘North’, both in terms of discourses and models of curating (Manifesta, Emergency Biennale in Chechnya and documenta 14, for example).

On the one hand, this global proliferation of biennials represents a new geography of innovative institutions; however, many have come to question whether this is, in fact, reducing the diversity of cultural production. At the same time, driven by increasingly potent market forces, art fairs, too, are ‘going global’. Viewed by some as a substitute for biennials, in terms of public influence, this presents a critical challenge. Can we consider the expansion of the art-fair model as a new form of cultural colonialism?

Vrishchik and the Journals of Indian Modernism

Natasha Ginwala
Natasha Ginwala is a curator and writer based in Berlin, Germany, and Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is festival curator of the 2019 edition of COLOMBOSCOPE and associate curator at Gropius Bau, Berlin. Earlier this year, she was a curator of ‘Hello World. Revising a Collection’ at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin.


Decolonial Documents: Part One - 非殖民化文件:第一部分

Cover of the first edition of Vrishchik (Scorpion), January 1969, founded by Gulammohammed Sheikh. Courtesy: Gulammohammed Sheikh and Asia Art Archive

When exhibiting works of South Asian modernism in recent years, I have often been reminded of the literary corpus that surrounded artistic production. Many of the artists from the 1940s to the ’70s were writers, playwrights and poets who considered literary output a component of practice that was dialogical, communally oriented and a way of entering into debate as part of post-independence civil society. Some leading examples from the Indian context include the monthly magazine Vrishchik (meaning Scorpion), founded by Gulammohammed Sheikh in 1969 in Baroda and edited with contributions from peers such as Jyoti Bhatt, Geeta Kapur, Bhupen Khakhar, Gieve Patel and Jeram Patel. A recent find for me was the shortlived magazine CONTRA’66 (1966–67), edited from Delhi by the artist and writer J. Swaminathan, who was also the co-founder of Group 1890 and seminal to the formation of the Bharat Bhavan art complex in central India and its collection of folk and indigenous arts. For documenta 14, while researching the pedagogic model of Rabindranath Tagore’s experimental school at Santiniketan, I turned to the news bulletins and quarterlies produced there, Visva Bharati News and Visva Bharati Quarterly, to find Tagore’s poetry and letters, curriculum announcements, visits from international artists, historians and agronomists, as well as rare folios of printed works that became a micro-history of teacher-student relations. 

K.G. Subramanyan, ‘The Image of Indian Art Tradition’, 1971

Shanay Jhaveri 
Shanay Jhaveri is assistant curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA, and a contributing editor to frieze.


Decolonial Documents: Part One - 非殖民化文件:第一部分

K.G. Subramanyan, Blue Studio, 2008, gouache on handmade paper, 76 × 57 cm. Courtesy: the artist, Naveen Kishore and Asia Art Archive 

The artist K.G. Subramanyan, who died in 2016, straddled two of India’s defining art institutions of the 20th century. He trained in the 1940s in Santiniketan, at the experimental art school established by Rabindranath Tagore, and subsequently taught at the famous Faculty of Fine Arts at M.S. University in Baroda (first as a lecturer, between 1951 and 1959, and then as the dean from 1968 to 1974). Subramanyan took with him to Baroda a rejection of colonial art practices underscored by Tagore, who advanced a more located and ecologically minded pedagogy, where a communion with nature was crucial. In a series of little-known essays, Subramanyan went on to articulate his own critical proposal for how a cultural negotiation with modernity could be staged by the postcolonial Indian artist. In one of these, titled ‘The Image of Indian Art Tradition’ (1971), he declares:

‘Our art tradition has few parallels in the world for its depth, breadth, antiquity, diversity and unbroken hierarchy [...] It has a spectrum of expression that extends from pure signatory abstraction to involved metaphor […] Its concepts are different, its visual ingredients are different […] A fruitful relationship with this stupendous art panorama will come easily to an artist today, if the range of his terms is equally large.’

Unequivocally, Subramanyan is calling for an integrated approach to art-making, encouraging a necessary engagement with what he would later term India’s ‘living traditions’. Modernist forms are not to be forsaken, but approached from a situated context. His pedagogy had a significant impact on a subsequent generation of artists, including Sheela Gowda, Mrinalini Mukherjee and Nilima Sheikh. For Subramanyan, arriving at the future could only be achieved by returning to the past.

Souffles, 1966–72

Omar Berrada
Omar Berrada is a writer, curator and director of the Dar al-Ma’mûn library and residency in Marrakech, Morocco. He currently lives in New York, USA, and is working on the first edition of Ahmed Bouanani’s The Seventh Gate.


Decolonial Documents: Part One - 非殖民化文件:第一部分

Cover of Souffles, no. 16/17, 1969. Courtesy: Abdellatif Laâbi

Decolonial work is constant time travel. In 1966, ten years after Morocco gained independence, a group of young writers and artists, led by Abdellatif Laâbi, founded the journal Souffles (Breaths). Through essays, manifestos, poems, reviews and translations, Souffles articulated a horizon of postcolonial liberation and tricontinental solidarity. By focusing on art-making and knowledge production, it argued for a ‘cultural decolonization’ without which political independence would remain moot. Souffles was banned in 1972 by the authorities of King Hassan II and subsequently erased from cultural memory.

Ahmed Bouanani’s name recurs through early issues of the journal. Among his contributions were two landmark essays on popular arts and oral poetry. A film editor by training, Bouanani advocated a cultural renewal premised on reassembling the remaining scraps of a dismembered tradition. In the 1980s, he wrote a history of Moroccan film, The Seventh Gate, which was less a record of national achievements than an attempt to ‘decolonize the screen’. For him, this endeavour was not a choice but a necessary step for a generation of filmmakers to build images in which they could recognize themselves. It acknowledged the difficulty of redirecting the gaze and exiting the long colonial night. For 30 years, the manuscript, like much of Bouanani’s work, remained unpublished: another symbol of our held-up modernity. But things are changing. Souffles was recently re-issued in full by a Moroccan publisher. English translations of two of Bouanani’s literary works, The Hospital (1989) and The Shutters (1980), were recently released. His films, including The Mirage (1979) and Mémoire 14 (Memory 14, 1971), are being screened again. To decolonize is to believe in the future.

Main image: Text overlaid over Teresa Burga, Compsición (Composition), undated, collage, 20x 28 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin

Published in frieze, issue 199, November/December 2018, with the title ‘Decolonial Documents: A Partial History’.

Features /

Ângela Ferreira
Hou Hanru
Natasha Ginwala
Shanay Jhaveri
Omar Berrada
Decolonizing Culture
Decolonial Documents
Teresa Burga
K. G Subramayan
Alexis Leyva Machado

目前围绕非殖民化文化的对话并不新鲜:它们被质疑西方霸权的多重历史所告知。在由六部分组成的系列文章的第一部分中,我们邀请了五位艺术家、策展人和作家,他们的作品都与这一挑战有关,来讨论影响他们思想的项目——从展览和出版物到更加无形和瞬息万变的网络,这些网络的影响往往更加恶劣。t比记录的,虽然不那么重要。点击艺术家的名字跳到他们的入口。ngela Ferreira
Hou Hanru
Natasha Ginwala
Shanay Jhaveri
Omar Berrada南非文化抵制者ngela Ferreira
出生于莫桑比克,ngela Ferreira_在南非长大。她在葡萄牙Lisbon生活和工作,在里斯本大学教美术。今年,她在葡萄牙圣蒂尔索的MAT、里斯本、圣奥利维拉、里斯本和西班牙文化国际博物馆(Museu Internationalde Es.a Contempornea)分别做了个人演讲,她的作品被包括在塞拉维斯博物馆(Museu ColeAngo de Serralves)、葡萄牙、葡萄牙和斯蒂文森(Cap)的集体展览中。南非E镇。她的作品将在11月11日的第十二届光州双年展上展出,直到11月11日。Angella-ferreira-20_cmyk.jpg Decolonial Documents: Part One - 非殖民化文件:第一部分 ngela Ferreira,“泛非统一壁画”,2018,里斯本MAAT展览图。1986-87年,在开普敦盐河社区住宅,详细描述由CAP壁画家小组(包括费雷拉在内的14位艺术家的集体)绘画的一部分壁画的再创作(从照片中)。原来的壁画保留在社区住宅-一个多用途的公民参与,行动和辩论的空间,以及工人和社区资源。礼貌:艺术家和MAT,里斯本——西方的敏锐批判在很久以前就存在于像开普敦这样的殖民城市的街道上,尽管后殖民话语已经开始。我的实践根植于这种根深蒂固的临界状态。反对种族隔离的斗争也是一场代表权斗争:种族隔离显然是以西方模式为基础的,所以设想不同的非洲未来常常牵涉到对西方原则的不信任。今天,代表权和身份问题得到了更广泛的关注,因为我们还没有在完全包容的环境中生活和工作——无论是大陆和国家,还是博物馆和展览。概念的轮廓自然发生了变化,但其相关性并没有减弱。20世纪80年代,我在开普敦大学(UCT)接受艺术家培训,遵循英国艺术学校的模式,主要学习西方现代和当代艺术的专门知识。幸运的是,我被一些聪明的年轻人(大多数是白人,尽管学校确实招收了一小部分黑人学生)包围着,他们反对政治制度,并对这门课与我们极不公正的社会缺乏关联性感到不满。我们想制作艺术来解决这一背景及其创伤史,这将有助于这场斗争。我们培养了与我们同龄的黑人艺术家的友谊,他们慷慨地将我们包括在他们的谈话和活动中;加入了多种族的社区艺术空间,如社区艺术项目(CAP);组成了合作社,如花园媒体组和CAP壁画组;为工会和政治组织设计海报,并成立一个妇女团体,合作制作陶瓷项目。这些都是促进我的包容教育的松散结构。WPAP60300 3BR WPAP60300 3BR我们的讨论是激烈的;有时,令人震惊的社会化。场馆包括社区会堂、葬礼和政治集会。我们观察和分析了第一批理论上的后殖民转变,并对1989年在巴黎蓬皮杜中心举办的“魔术师”等展览提出了质疑。从远处看,在南非文化抵制的背景下,我们怀疑这次展览构成了一种新形式的异国主义和新殖民主义的博物馆学实践。像谁代表谁?当我们试图不失去对自己的机构的控制时,人们热烈讨论。尽管他工作中的某一方面,我们批评的艺术家如Anthony Caro,谁打破了抵制1980访问法。我们拒绝了艺术活动,我们觉得被增选由国家或大企业,我们研究了俄国构成主义的做法,墨西哥壁画家和包括Hans Haacke和David Hlongwane个人的艺术家。我们开车去建立新的期货是在一个展览的标题抓获,关于时间:南非形象”(1987),被关闭的 开盘后不久。第一届哈瓦那双年展,1984,和 的 的 全球南侯瀚如
侯瀚如二年生的 出现是基于在巴黎,和法国三 馆长评论家,弗朗西斯科,美国,罗马,意大利,在那里他是 MAXXI艺术总监,二十一世纪艺术国家博物馆。在过去的二十年中,他曾策划或合作策划的展览100多个机构和世界各地的事件。kcho_para-olvidar_cmyk.jpg Decolonial Documents: Part One - 非殖民化文件:第一部分卡克述评(Alexis Leyva Machado)、Para olvidar(忘了),1995年,在 首届光州双年展安装。礼貌:艺术家和光州双年展 的出现,自上世纪80年代中期,二年生城市哈瓦那(1984年)到伊斯坦布尔(1987年)到光州(1995年)证明了巨大的欲望,我们今天称全球南方国际展览在具体语境中嵌入地点。如今,许多最具创新性的双年展都在西方之外发生。这些举措的第一个杰出例子是哈瓦那双年展。公司成立于1984年,在冷战时期,它由一批古巴人提供当时被称为第三世界当代艺术家的平台。像许多两年后的双年展一样,它旨在与当地环境形成一种草根联系。在应对地缘政治现实,这样的举措往往采取灵活的方法,其中,反过来,影响了“北”,无论是在策展论述和模型(表现,在Chechnya双年展文献14,急救 例子)。一方面,这一全球扩散的双年展代表了一种新的创新机构地理;然而,许多来质疑这是,事实上,降低文化生产的多样性。与此同时,受日益强大的市场力量的驱使,艺术博览会也在走向全球。一些人认为,作为双年代用品的替代品,在公众影响力方面,这是一个关键的挑战。我们可以把艺术博览会模式作为一种新的文化殖民主义形式来考虑吗?vrishchik的 印度现代娜塔莎金瓦拉
娜塔莎金瓦拉期刊是一个策展人和作家,在柏林,德国,科伦坡,斯里兰卡。她是CurobsPoor的2019版的策展人,也是柏林格罗皮乌斯的助理策展人。今年早些时候,她是“Hello World”的馆长。修订汉堡包巴赫霍夫博物馆的收藏,柏林的F·R·盖根沃特博物馆。对vrishchik第一版cover_vrishchik_38155-0_cmyk.jpg Decolonial Documents: Part One - 非殖民化文件:第一部分盖(蝎子),由Gulammohammed Sheikh创立于1969年1月。礼:Gulammohammed Sheikh及亚洲艺术文献库时表现出南亚现代主义近年来的作品,我经常被提醒周围的艺术生产的文学语料库。许多艺术家从20世纪40年代到70年代的作家、剧作家和诗人认为文学输出组件实践,对话,共同性和 方式进入辩论后独立的公民社会的一部分。一些著名的例子来自印度语境包括月刊 vrishchik (意为蝎子),由Gulammohammed Sheikh创办的Baroda 1969和编辑来自同行如Jyoti Bhatt、Geeta Kapur、Bhupen Khakhar的贡献,Gieve Patel和Jeram帕特尔。最近发现我是短命的杂志 对'66(1966–67),编辑从德令哈市的艺术家和作家J. Swaminathan,他也是1890组的精液对印度宫艺术复杂在印度中部及其民俗和土著收款形成的联合创始人TS文献展14,在研究Rabindranath Tagore的实验学校在Santiniketan的教学模式,我转向新闻简报和刊物在那里产生的,国际大学新闻 和 Visva-Bharati季刊, 找到泰戈尔的诗歌和书信,课程announcemenTS,从国际艺术家互访,历史学家和农学家,以及印刷作品,成为师生关系的微观历史罕见的资料。 该Subramanyan,”印度艺术传统”的形象,1971 shanay贾哈维利 
shanay贾哈维利是馆长助理,M现代艺术,大都会艺术博物馆,纽约,美国,和一个特约编辑弗里泽。blue-studio_cmyk.jpg Decolonial Documents: Part One - 非殖民化文件:第一部分 K.G. Subramanyan,蓝色的工作室,2008,手工纸、水粉、76×57厘米。礼貌:艺术家,Naveen Kishore和亚洲艺术文献库 艺术家K.G. Subramanyan,谁死在2016,跨越印度的两定义艺术机构二十世纪。他在Santiniketan上世纪40年代,在Rabindranath Tagore所建立的实验艺术学校,随后教美术在著名的教师在巴罗达硕士大学(第一次作为讲师,1951和1959之间,然后从1968到1974的院长)。Subramanyan带他Baroda拒绝殖民艺术手法强调了泰戈尔,谁提出了更多地和生态意识的教育,一种与大自然的交融在哪里


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