NEITHER HERE NOR THERE EXHIBITION
15 April 2021 - 30 June 2021 | Kulturhus Blå Stället (Gothenburg,Sweden)
Some are quite at home in whiteness, while others are travellers to it. This is by no means an accident; whiteness is a (global) hegemonic epistemological position that constitutes itself through exclusion, manifesting differently in different contexts. Regardless, those excluded from it, explicitly artists, but having to function within it, having to travel to it and between worlds and perspectives, do so creatively and have done so for centuries.
Simon Njami, writing with Stuart Hall, notes that forms of black popular culture point to a perspective that is neither here nor there while simultaneously sometimes here and sometimes there. Here the neat and largely fictional binaries that make up our contemporary do not hold and one is propelled into, amongst other things, questions surrounding identity and into pursuits of belonging and freedom. Njami, pointing to this in-between place, argues that forms of black popular culture, “are always the product of a partial synchronisation, a commitment that crosses cultural borders, a merging of different cultural traditions, negotiations between dominant and subordinate positions, underground strategies of transcoding and re-encoding, critical significations and signification processes.”
We are two black South African curators, so-called ‘born-frees’- a name given to children born in democratic South Africa. However, evident in the economic, social and cultural hurdles faced by this generation, freedom is further along the horizon than expected. We are also a generation, like many before us, intimate with a multi-perspective position, as a result of traversing between blackness and the dominant hegemony of whiteness.
We embark on this project understanding the curatorial as a site for solidarity making and cross-continental learning, interested in learning with and from those who inhabit a multi-perspective position, although differently and with differing origins. Engaging with and learning from various artistic engagements with such a space we affirm the ability to inhabit this duality as “a skilful, creative, rich, enriching and, given circumstances, a loving way of being and living.”
Additionally asking, how do we learn from our differing multi-perspective positions, We explore the relationship between the shared concept of South Africa’s born frees and Sweden’s second generation. How do we learn from our different positionalities and how have we coped as generations characterised as having