Could there be worlds other than the one that insists on remaining dominant, but which we know is submerged in deep crises? Yes, it is the white, masculine, heteronormative and patriarchal Eurocentrism that we are dealing with, in the first moment. About this world, us Black, Indigenous and people of color start to see the degraded entrails, when we access, by other means, such as the idea of art, the affective fields of this pseudo-dominant society and we come across substantial faults; they don’t deal very well with their affections. We could make a list of absent affections in a society that still believes in its own dominance, but perhaps lack of empathy is enough.
SYSTEMIC AFFECTS – EUROCENTRISM AS PERIPHERY, can give good clues to the field of thought under construction, when it suggests that white cultures assuming dominance and supremacy, see themselves, at least for a moment, in this place; an emotional periphery. When we understand that affectivity is a set of psychic phenomena that are experienced and lived in the form of emotions and feelings, we do not feel that this is in the still colonizing practices of Europe, the United States and in any nation that has supplanted original territories around the world. We can look at migration issues, for example, as a complex layer of this superficial reading of what could make for a sophisticated study in the field of the politics of relations. It would not be ‘civilized’ to point out the systemic flaws of Eurocentrism, which has appropriated a reversal of affect and negatively dominated the planet, leaving it in the place we were put, that of an eternal periphery. If we reach the principle of criticality, or if we manage, little by little, to express a systemic vision of affect, it is pedagogically necessary that eurocentrism experiences a place of lack, exclusion, and periphery. But if it is empathy and systemic affects as pedagogy that the world needs in order not to end itself entirely, who else but us Black, Indigenous, and people of color who could care for and heal our own pains and the pains of others?
The exhibition brings together works by the artists Obaro Ejimiwe, Bassem Saad, Maria-Gracia Latedjou, Mwana Pwo, Gustavo Caboco, Lucilene Wapichana, Roseane Cadete, Emanuel Wapichana, Wanderson Wapixana, Jaider Esbell and Luiza Prado. These are works that, through the distinct languages and languages of each artist, rescue knowledge and affective and ancestral memories; they point to imaginaries that reject Eurocentric and colonial limitations. They are works that open worlds and possibilities of affective healing between past, present, and future; between those who live, those who have not yet arrived in this world, and those who have already left it.
With their video-performance Dikenga, Maria-Gracia Latedjou and Mwana Pwo offer a poetic reading of the Congo Cosmogram, a place of sacred encounters between the Living, God, and the Ancestors. Between the immensities of sea and land, the narration takes us on a journey through an encounter with transitions and crossings between planes of existence and the continuity of the breath of life and death. This spiritual connection also resonates in Obaro Ejimiwe’s “I Heard Your Call Ancestors: Do You Know My Name?”, the first in a series of photographs, sculptures, sound pieces, and performances that reflect on the dimensional complexity of blackness, using art as a practice of healing ancestral colonial wounds. By photographically recording the moment when he first wears a mask inspired by those carved by his ancestors, the artist rejects strict divisions between the realms of the living and the dead, rescuing an infinite affective cycle that is re-enacted through the movement of the body, music, and the production of images, artifacts, and senses.
This narrative thread is also present, although from another perspective, in the textual and imagetic works of “CORPO território memória ancestral,” by Gustavo Caboco, Roseane Cadete, Wanderson Wapixana, Emanuel Wapichana and Lucilene Wapichana. The collective of artists from the Wapixana people interrogate, in their works, not only ancestral memories of resistance and ancestral ties established with other beings present in the savannah ecosystem, but also examine distorted notions of affection used to cover up colonial violence, from the erasure of indigenous protagonism in historical memory to the abduction of indigenous children to be delivered to the guardianship of white families. The works of the artist Jaider Esbell from the Makuxi people, from the Caribbean Amazon, bring aspects that always point to continuous crossings of structural idearies. From the sense of identity as something fixed to binarisms, spreading out to amplitudes without any limit and limitation without failing to mark a point of connection.
The complexities and affective manifestations in the colonial context are also present in Bassem Saad’s work, first in the special 3-day screening of the short film “Congress of Idling Persons,” where five characters discuss issues ranging from the cartography of protest, crisis, humanitarian and mutual aid, migrant labour, and Palestinian outsider status. After the special three-day screening of “Congress of Idling Persons”, this work will give way to another short film, Kink Retrograde, where Saad offers a speculative allegory about characters who live in a world and city presided over by shocks that come to resemble the apparent retrograde motion of celestial bodies: cyclical and seemingly backwards moving. The intoxicated characters decide that the social contract between themselves and the sovereign powers has always been breached, and so they must devise a new and transparent contract aware of its own abjectness, risk, and deviance — one of total kink. The reflection on displacement and immigration processes, as well as the cultural and affective changes and losses these entail, is also present in Luiza Prado’s work. The sculpture, formed by tree branches, water, and tea cups, examines the presence of the flamboyanzinho, a tree used in popular contraceptive medicine, on riverbanks in places where generations of her family were born and raised, calling up reflections on reproduction and fertility, structures of colonialism, migration, sexual domination, bioprospecting, and the Atlantic.