Grada Kilomba: “Portugal has a discourse about other bodies” | art

In a conference that ended in the form of a conversation in the late afternoon, artist and academic Grada Kilomba, who has a multidisciplinary work on decolonizing knowledge, said that her process of creation begins with writing. The author of the book Memórias da Plantação: Episodes of Everyday Racism (Orfeu Negro, 2019), Grada Kilomba, who has lived in Berlin for years, was one of the participants in the O Mundo de Amanhã conference cycle on September 31, the anniversary of PUBLIC in a meeting of the journalist Vítor Belanciano.

She, who is also a university professor and shows a work between visual art and writing, between fiction and documentation, said that she tries to understand the form, the support with which any work in the world wants to appear. “Every work almost whispers in the format in which it is supposed to appear. It’s a performance of writing, ”said the artist, adding that this transformation can take the form of a video, an installation or a book.

The artist explained that her main work was to understand her story. With a family history that extends through Portugal and São Tomé, but also through Angola, Grada Kilomba reminded that many parts of this history have not been documented or archived and are not part of the national curriculum. “This research doesn’t stop. Sometimes it becomes a very complex job, a job that can be placed in many places but has no place anywhere. “Do your books belong to psychoanalysis? Are you lyrical? – He asked. “This problem of not knowing where to put them is part of the decolonization process. In order to understand who I am, I cannot use languages ​​that exclude me. “Or as I said later, in response to a reader’s question,” I need to know how to step into my story as a character. “

When asked about a petition recently calling for the deportation of Mamadou Ba, the leader of SOS racism (according to the activist’s statements about Marcelino da Mata, in which he described the controversial military as “twisted by the colonial regime”), the Artists and academics recalled that his position was made public through a video: “What happens to Mamadou Ba has already happened to other characters who have a voice. How do voices and bodies that are important no longer exist in a nation? It is no accident that the absence of Mamadou Bas’s body was attempted. We have this national tradition of creating these missing bodies. Portugal has a discrepancy in the discourse on other bodies. It’s important to transform narratives and do what a new generation wants. “

Grada Kilomba defended the importance of deciphering the myth that anti-racist struggles bring with them social rifts: “Colonial history has been present in our biography for 500 years if no decolonization is carried out – racism was the law and at the center of European law Politics now [continua] as ideology – violence will not stop. It is only interrupted when several voices and bodies tell their story. “

Fixed monthly income

Two hours later, the writer Dulce Maria Cardoso, author of works such as O Retorno or Eliete, in the same conference cycle, asked journalist Isabel Coutinho in a conversation with the readers led by the creation of an “unconditional basic income”. “Anyone who devotes themselves entirely to artistic creation has the right to a fixed monthly income, regardless of what they create, an income that enables them to live in dignity and to create freely. That the support allocated to the culture is reconsidered to enable the existence of such an income. “For most artists, he recalled, the market doesn’t work. “Subsidies the way they were designed don’t work either. We have to prove that we have an increasingly conditional structure in which the Ministry of Culture can provide support. “At a time when the Minister of Culture was discussing the creation of an artist statute with the cultural sector, the writer stated that she had never spoken to Graça Fonseca about the idea of ​​creating this income:“ I was always away from the spheres of power next. “A reader thanked Dulce Maria Cardoso for the“ minimum threshold of dignity in utopia ”.

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