Selene Wendt to curate Vanderbilt University’s Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice
Focusing on art as an act of solidarity and resistance, the 2022/23 Engine for Art, Democracy and Justice platform will bring together outstanding individuals from various creative disciplines whose work helps to reframe and rewrite the past, enabling us to rethink how we can fight against the social injustices of our time and reimagine a more socially just future for all. The 2022/23 programming is conceived to foster inclusive, meaningful dialogues and collaborations that will have a real impact that will resonate beyond academia and the art world. Taking a distinctly transdisciplinary, transcultural, transhistorical approach to decolonial thinking, the programming highlights socially and politically engaged art practices that confront the social and political challenges of our time through a series of panels, artistic interventions, performances, poetry, music and art that will take place at cultural venues, historical sites and public spaces throughout Nashville.
Forthcoming book to be co-published by The Africa Institute and Skira.
Beyond the Door of No Return: Confronting Hidden Colonial Histories through Contemporary Art.
This richly illustrated book focuses on the lesser-known details of colonial history, with particular emphasis on stories of resistance and rebellion against colonial rule. The contemporary artists featured in this book include John Akomfrah, La Vaughn Belle, Manthia Diawara, Jeannette Ehlers, Michelle Eistrup, Sasha Huber, Oceana James, Patricia Kaersenhout, Grada Kilomba, Suchitra Mattai, and Alberta Whittle, who are all at the forefront of decolonial thinking. Through their artworks, they convey compelling narratives that shed light on the entangled colonial histories that connect Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. Collectively, these artists provide crucial insight into some of the lesser-known aspects of colonial history, such as Norwegian involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
These artists convey unique resistance stories about fearless freedom fighters such as Venus Johannes, Mary Thomas, Olaudah Equiano, and Anna Heegaard, thereby allowing for a deeper, more nuanced understanding of colonial history than the historical narratives that have typically been told from a Western perspective. These are stories of empowerment and resistance that help, at least partially, to set the historical record straight. By highlighting the stories of those who have been historically silenced, we gain access to a more nuanced understanding of colonial history and the factors which have contributed to the continued effects of colonialism today, most evidently witnessed in the prevalence of racism, poverty, and forced migration.
The author’s experience as a curator of contemporary art is strongly influenced by longtime research in cultural studies, postcolonial theory, and African and African diaspora aesthetics.
Image: John Akomfrah, Vertigo Sea (2015) Three-channel color video installation, 7.1 surround sound, 48 minutes, 30 seconds Smoking Dogs Films.
Hyperallergic lists Rios Intermitentes as one of the top 15 exhibitions worldwide in 2019
Rios Intermitentes, a special exhibition project by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, which was an official part of the 13th Havana Biennial, was chosen as one of the best 15 exhibitions worldwide in 2019 by Hyperallergic. Her curatorial team was comprised of Octavio Zaya, Salah Hassan, and Selene Wendt.
This was the first time ever that The Havana Biennial also took place in other Cuban cities, including Matanzas. A native of Matanzas, Campos-Pons sought to revitalize the city through artistic gestures that succeeded in reviving local traditions and forgotten sites by creating artistic exchanges that empowered the community and helped renew a sense of cultural pride. In the selection of participating local and international artists, emphasis was placed on social actions that would have a long-term impact on the city of Matanzas. Campos-Pons and the curatorial team were interested in looking at the city of Matanzas with new eyes to reconsider its traditions and to revitalize the local art scene through a unique exhibition platform where local and international artists would converge.
There were over 50 international and local participating artists including Marilá Dardot, Iftikhar Dadi, Augustín Drake, Melvin Edwards, Olu Oguibe, Ramon Pacheco, Adriana Perez, Dawit Petros, Tracey Snelling, Carrie Mae Weems, Cosmo Whyte, and Manthia Diawara, to name only a few.
Dates and venue set for “Listening to the Echoes of the South Atlantic”
“Listening to the Echoes of the South Atlantic” is a sound-based, multidisciplinary exhibition that features a combination of sound-based visual art, interventions, and performances that convey the importance of sonic politics in relation to the history, present, and future of the South Atlantic. The exhibition was selected among the proposed projects as part of the three-year interdisciplinary research project initiated by the Goethe-Institut, Sao Paulo, Echoes of the South Atlantic. The first stage of the research project took place in April 2018 in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. The conference addressed the question of the future of Southern Transatlantic relations, particularly concerning the past, present and future role of Europe within this context, and set out to explore possible answers through a multi-disciplinary, multi-spatial and multi-temporal approach that included lectures, discussions, performances, and artistic interventions. One overriding theme that resonated throughout the first conference was the sociopolitical importance of music. As such, the exhibition was conceived as an active response to many of the questions set forth in the first Echoes conference.
Taking a transcultural, transatlantic approach as a starting point, the exhibition explores the political, social, and cultural implications of music, highlighting the significance of music as a mediator of cultural experience and history. Addressing issues of site and context, the exhibition examines how visual and performing artists implement music as a means of bringing history and memory into spaces of contemporaneity. Building on the historical importance of music in relation to the development of what Paul Gilroy defines as black Atlantic culture, the exhibition explores the sociopolitical implications of music in contemporary visual and performance art practices. The project reflects a very conscious approach to what music represents beyond a pure sonic experience. Placing emphasis on the sociopolitical importance of music directs attention towards the ways in which the underlying narratives are entangled and interconnected. Naturally, strong emphasis is placed on artists from the South Atlantic, who are set in dialogue with one another to convey the importance of thinking in Glissantian terms about the idea of echos monde, understood as the world of things resonating with one another.
Cássio Bomfim, Jeannette Ehlers, Anita Ekman, Satch Hoyt, Neo Muyanga & William Kentridge, Camille Norment, Dawit L. Petros, and Nyugen E. Smith.
The exhibition will take place at Oslo Kunstforening February 6 - April 5, 2020, and a series of live-performances will also take place at Nordic Black Theatre.
A Sheet of Paper Can Become a Knife included as part of Amsterdam Art Weekend
A Sheet of Paper Can Become Knife, featuring the work of Regina José Galindo, David Goldblatt, FX Harsono, Amar Kanwar, Naiza Khan,Teresa Margolles, Cildo Meireles, Zanele Muholi, Oscar Muñoz, and Newsha Tavalkonian was included as an official part of Amsterdam Art Weekend, featuring a special curator's tour by Selene Wendt on Friday November 23, 2018.