Resistance and Amnesia #2: On Failed Utopias, Living Myths, and Coloniality Today Bisan Abu-Eisheh, Annalisa Cannito, Raja´a Khalid, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa Exhibition opening

Resistance and Amnesia #2. Duration of the exhibition: 18.06. – 01.08.2015. .

Resistance and Amnesia #2. Duration of the exhibition: 18.06. – 01.08.2015

The exhibition was being produced in the context of the International Fellowship Program for Art and Theory in Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen 2014/15 and will be shown in the Kunstpavillon of the Tiroler Künstlerschaft. Its participants are this year’s grantees of the Fellowship Program, artists Bisan Abu-EishehAnnalisa CannitoRaja’a Khalid and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa. Their fields of artistic investigation and the themes they are handling in the context of the Fellowship Program in Büchsenhausen formed the starting point of the exhibition concept.

Resistance and Amnesia #2 unearthes aspects of post-colonial amnesia in Europe’s public memory in an attempt to initiate a process to overcome them and so re-generate memory. The thematic emphases are: questions of Palestinian identity in the context of social norms, political language, living conditions and ideologies during the 1980s and today (Bisan Abu-Eisheh), the relevance of links between Italy’s colonial and fascist past to today’s migration regime in Europe and beyond (Annalisa Cannito), a striving for “physical comfort” as a paradigm of Modernism and progress, the conception of which is inseparably linked to imperial/colonial fantasies (Raja’a Khalid), and utopias involving the settlement of European colonies on Africa’s “empty land” (Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa).

Only exclusively new works, produced especially for this exhibition, will be on show in Resistance and Amnesia #2Bisan Abu-Eisheh is collaborating with a musician on an audio piece, which combines European music canons and a mythologizing rhetoric of Palestinian character. Annalisa Cannito is developing a multi-media installation, which reveals forms of coloniality in globalization, starting out from Italy as an example. Raja’a Khalid is concerned with the way olfactory perception is addressed in the production of a “luxurious atmosphere” as a service in hotels and the leisure industry. For this, among other things, she develops and produces her own odor using plants from former European colonies. Finally, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa is working on a video installation about a story from the Second World War now almost forgotten: at that time European refugees, mainly from Poland and the Ukraine, were settled in especially constructed refugee camps in East Africa, where they lived without any contact with the local population until the beginning of the 1950s.


Resistance and Amnesia #2
On Failed Utopias, Living Myths, and Coloniality Today

Bisan Abu-Eisheh, Annalisa Cannito, Raja’a Khalid, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa
Curated by Andrei Siclodi

Opening: Wed June 17, 2015, 7pm
Welcoming: Christoph Hinterhuber, Member of the board, Tiroler Künstlerschaft
Introduction: Andrei Siclodi, Curator

Duration of the exhibition: 18.06. – 01.08.2015
Opening times: Wed – Fri 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The artists:

Bisan ABU-EISHEH *1985, lives in London und Jerusalem. He studied Visual Contemporary Art at the International Academy of Arts, Palestine, and the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Bisan Abu-Eisheh is working on questions of identity on the basis of his father’s private archive. His father was an actor who was imprisoned by the Israelis at the beginning of the 1980s. More than thirty years old now, the archive material documents the exchange of letters between his father and people outside the prison during the latter’s sentence, but also contains images and written texts that were exchanged with other (former) prisoners after his release. In his study of this material the artist’s attention is directed not only towards the unraveling of a private story, but also towards the social values, political language, circumstances and ideologies of these people, which are all regarded against the background of the ideal of freedom within a society under occupation.

Annalisa CANNITO *1984 in Acqui Terme (I), lives in Vienna. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Post Conceptual Art Practices (Marina Gržinić, degree 2013).
In Büchsenhausen Annalisa Cannito will continue her artistic investigations into the current relevance of the relations between fascism and colonialism in Italy and Europe as a whole. Not least, it is a matter of tracing and visualising the reasons for silence over these issues in public discourses in Italy. To this purpose, among other things Cannito will work together with first and second generation migrants from Libya, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.a

Raja’a KHALID *1986, Pakistani artist, lives in Saudi Arabia. She studied at the University for the Creative Arts, England and the Cornell University, New York. In her current studio practice, Raja’a Khalid is interested in looking at the social hierarchies of space, East/West dialogues (both historical and contemporary), material and consumer culture, artistic interventions into archives and more recently, the appearance and rhetoric of social systems. In her project she would like to study the pursuit of ‘bodily comfort’ as the main driver of modernity and progress as has been posited by different contemporary historians. In keeping with her personal curiosity for locating East/West narratives and exchanges, her research at Büchsenhausen will consist of a transnational investigation of how contemporary notions of ‘being comfortable’ are in actual fact, products of empire and the diplomatic relationships between diverse societies over centuries.

Emma WOLUKAU-WANAMBWA *1976 in Glasgow, GB, studied English Literature at Cambridge University / GB (1995–98) and Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (2006–08). Prior to joining the UdK Graduiertenschule, Berlin (2012–14), she was a participant in the LUX Associate Artists Programme / GB (2009) and a Fine Art Researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie / NL (2012).
Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa works in a wide range of media, which include installation, sound, video, photography, printmaking and drawing. She has also recently started writing.
Since 2011 Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa has been researching the cultural legacies of British colonialism in East Africa. Of particular interest to her have been the “mnemonic technologies” that were introduced to the region during the colonial period (e.g. the museum, the book, the governmental archive), as well as unsuccessful/unrealized utopian projects of European Settlement in ‘empty’ East Africa: the “Freeland Colony”, founded by Austrian Theodor Hertzka and Welshman Alfred Wallace in the 1890s and the British proposal, in 1903, to create the State of Israel on the banks of Lake Victoria. Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa will continue this research in Büchsenhausen, as well as working on a fictive account‒based on a true story‒of what happened to 7,000 Polish and Ukranian people during the Second World War. In 1941, they were deported from a Siberian gulag, via Teheran and colonial India to what was then the Protectorate of Uganda, where they lived without any contacts with the indigenous population until 1952.