“Quilombo” involves artists from three continents: Africa (Democratic Republicof Congo), South America (Brasil) and Europe (Switzerland). The coalition-based research and exhibition project comprised residencies in Lugano (Lago Mio) andBasel (SALTS and Atelier Mondial), and a workshop with the Centre for AfricanStudies at the University of Basel.
The project “Quilombo” was initiated out of a personal invitation between theSwiss-based institution SALTS and the Congo-based Waza art center, in order to collaborate, exchange, and learn from each other during a full year of co-pro-gramming and co-curation. The foundation for an intensive collaboration with the artists within the project is laid in the partnership with the Lago Mio Lugano Artist Residency on the Swiss border with Italy.
Once synonymous with escape and resistance, the term ‘quilombo’ today stands for a Brazilian settlement of African descent. Anthropologists and historians mean-while have arrived at a new understanding of these rural communities,calling for a broader definition: Regardless of their specific history, quilombos share collective identities and notions, linking them to their African roots and making them fight common battles as people in DRC, Switzerland or anywhere else: against capitalism and racism, and for the equitable distribution of resources.
The research and exhibition project “Quilombo” attempts to build on the idea of a‘Black Atlantic’, coined by British-Guyanese historian and writer Paul Gilroy in 1993as a “Counterculture of Modernity” in the relations between Africa, the Americas,and Europe. Can we activate aesthetics sensitive to common concerns, taking advantage of the digital age’s challenges, particularly in the unexpected connec-tivity of our pandemic era? Social injustice has its roots in the history of exploita-tion of natural resources and human labor and continues to this day.
How can this be undermined by an alternative reading of human relations between the three continents, imagining an ecology that empowers humanism and diversity?
The project “Quilombo” will continue to develop in Lubumbashi and São Pauloover the next two years. A first catalogue is planned for Spring 2022 as part of the opening of the exhibition’s second itinerary at Lago Mio artist residency in Lugano.
Presented by SALTS, Waza art center Lubumbashi/DR Congo and Lago Mio Lugano artist residency in collaboration with Culturescapes 2021 Amazonia.
Curated by Samuel Leuenberger, Patrick Mudekereza and Benedikt Wyss.