Calendar of Events
Guilt and Debts
Talk : Re-telling histories for future emancipation : Jeannette Ehlers & Justin F. Kennedy
June 12, 2023, 17:00–19:00PM, Halmtorvet 27, 1700 Copenhagen V
Dance and vocal artist Justin F. Kennedy will be in conversation with visual artist Jeannette Ehlers about intervening in the Danish colonial archive and paying tribute to Moko Jumbie and the Caribbean storytelling tradition. Both artists were critically engaged in the centennial of Denmark’s sale of the former Danish West Indian Islands to the USA in 2017. During the talk, we will take a closer look at how the conversations around colonialism have changed from then to today. How has this change in discourse affected their artistic practices? And how do we insist that we are not “post” postcolonialism?
Participation is free, but we recommend securing a seat by taking out a free ticket via Billetto.
The talk will be in English.
JEANNETTE EHLERS is a Copenhagen-based artist of Danish and Trinidadian descent whose practice takes shape experimentally across photography, video, installation, sculpture and performance. She graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. Ehlers’ work often makes use of self-representation and image manipulation to bring about decolonial hauntings and disruptions. These manifestations attend to the material and affective afterlives of Denmark’s colonial impact in the Caribbean and participation in the Transatlantic Slave Trade—realities that have all too often been rendered forgettable by dominant history-writing. In the words of author Lesley-Ann Brown, “Ehlers reminds all who participate in or gaze at her work that history is not in the past.” Ehlers insists on the possibility for empowerment and healing in her art, honoring legacies of resistance in the African diaspora. She merges the historical, the collective and the rebellious with the familial, the bodily and the poetic.
She has exhibited internationally and was shortlisted to create a national monument to The Windrush Generation at London Waterloo Station 2022 as well as for the decolonial monument in Braunschweig Germany 2022/2023. She is the co-creator of the public sculpture project I Am Queen Mary, 2018.
JUSTIN F. KENNEDY is a Berlin-based community dance and vocal artist, teacher, dramaturg, and DJ, from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Justin’s research evolves from a durational dance and singing practice, and its further transference into cyphers, workshops, science fiction operas, installations, street interventions, happenings, music and film. Notable projects of late include: Apocalypso (2024), It`s OK. Commoning Uncertainties (2023) in collaboration with Joy Mariama Smith, Sun unseT (2022), SNDO, experimental dance film: Cannibalizing the Conductor (2022) in collaboration with filmmaker Derek Howard and artist Emma Howes, Recap of an Alien Garden, Movement Research Across, Galerie Wedding, Berlin (2022), A(un) Necessary World, Lifes, Hammer Museum, LA (2022), Vorglühen, OUT NOW, Uferhallen, Berlin (2021); UNFURL the jukebox musical: a shareable cypher, Montag Modus, Radialsystem, Berlin (2021); UNFURL: a lucid science fiction, 11th Berlin Biennale, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2020).
Without the begin of word
grist in a grind and pound of together
in absence of a past mortared with
the harsh husk of a future-present begins
(M. NourbeSe Philip)
Becomings is a series of talks that presents artists and researchers who use their work to examine, disrupt, and push back against the effects of colonialism. The series unfolds gestures understood as “acts of becoming,” to quote the artist Grada Kilomba. Here, those labeled by colonial history as “other” retort; and becoming is made possible in the act of utterance that shoulders its way into the paradigms of Western historiography, imaginings, and emotions.
The series resonates with the growing demand for historical restoration and the desire to let other experiences, forms of knowledge and sensibilities intervene into our way of shaping and inhabiting the world.
Becomings is part of the Art Hub Copenhagen’s program Guilt & Debts.