Time, Trade and Travel is small but satisfying group exhibition currently being presented by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. The project took shape through artists residencies conducted both in the Netherlands and in Ghana. The focus of the show was not so much on the colonial past, as on its legacy and persisting forms. The result was a series of works that interrogated the exchange and translation of material, visual patterns, ideologies and practices, (in sculpture, painting, installation and film). They were largely presented as fragmented and unique experiences rather than as monumental ones. Humorous and generous, not all mistranslation was framed as ‘failure’.
Problems of mobility seemed momentarily to have been eased by the lubricating power of contemporary art- until one looked closely at which of the artists were going to be giving talks or interviews within the events programme. The lack of Ghanaians featured on this list showed the frictions still in place. Perhaps these artists will speak when the show travels to the Nubuke Foundation in November? I hope to conduct fieldwork in Accra later in the year, it would be extremely interesting to see the exhibition in both locations.
Image 1 (above): My Lifetime (Malalaika), Katarina Zdjelar, 2012 (video still)
Image 2 (below) : from a photographic series by Bernard Akoi-Jackson
Liz Haines, PhD Candidate