Culture&, in collaboration with the Black Cultural Archives, continues its monthly series Perspectives, which invites persons from the arts and culture sector to respond to ‘Re’ words from Culture&’s 2020 decolonisation mantra. With the aim of gaining a richer understanding of what these terms mean from different points of view, this month they consider Returning, Restitution and Redemption.
Arike Oke, Director of The Black Cultural Archives
For me, the resonance is about coming home and thinking about how you can see things from a mirror, when you come home or someone comes home to you as a prodigal so this is about how it shows you yourself.
I feel that this is about making something whole that has been torn apart in whatever way that can be possible. Maybe the cracks will still be there but what can we learn from the cracks?
I think that this has the least resonation with decolonisation. It is super complicated and I don’t know if we can achieve that through decolonisation but perhaps it is something about reconciliation. I don’t think it is about absolving.
Gabi Zachary, Masters Student at Goldsmiths University
I selected this photo for returning. I think it was really interesting for the idea of returning cultural objects and decolonisation to appear in a major Hollywood blockbuster.
I selected this poster from this activist group called decolonize this place from back home. they organise protests and campaigns against museums.
When I think of Redemption, I immediately think of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. It represents the culmination of a long fight for representation and reclaiming of history within the official cultural system of the United States. The experience of the museum has the viewer start in the dark and painful history of slavery and end in a celebration of contemporary black culture. As a black woman, visiting the museum was an emotional experience and left me feeling motivated to create that representation in the rest of the cultural industry.