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[21] Decolonization Now: Ground for Action

Description:

As one of the G20 nations, Mexico City is the perfect venue to bring together a hemispheric group to think through how the goals of decolonization and decoloniality can shape our work as artists, activists, and academics in the post-neoliberal world. This group will make field visits both to pay respect to indigenous and black sites of resistance and to learn about the Mexico City metropolitan area, with 21 million people, average age 27, 56% access to the Internet, and 60% informal housing threatened by biosphere crisis. This is the ground for present-day decolonization. The workshop will work towards creating a collaborative, free, downloadable decolonized “curriculum” in the sense of Paulo Freire’s “practices of freedom.” How can decolonizing remain grounded, continue to make territorial acknowledgements, advocate for restitution and reparations, and create new perception under these ever-changing conditions?

Format and structure:

In the workshop, all participants will share ideas and work from their own region and particular interests. The goal is to begin the work of collaboration by coming to understand each other’s situations, and to form community. While people of all experiences are welcome, this is not conceived as an “introduction to decolonizing” workshop but as a place for people working through the  many challenges of the present to learn by sharing and through mutual support. The workshop intends to bring together practitioners, academics, and activists to share skills, knowledges and possibilities.

What applicants should submit:

Share whatever makes sense to show that you’ve been thinking and working in ways that are influenced by ideas and practices of decolonizing and decoloniality.

Ideal Number of Participants:

10-15

Languages spoken/understood by conveners:

Spanish/French/English (we welcome speakers of other languages)

Conveners:

Alicia Grullón: a 2018-2019 Hemi Artist in Residence, directs her interdisciplinary practice towards critiques of the politics of presence, arguing for the inclusion of disenfranchised communities in political and social spheres. She is co-organizer and co-author of the People’s Cultural Plan, a coalition of artists, cultural workers, and activists responding to New York City’s first ever cultural plan in 2017. Her work has been shown at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery, BRIC Arts, Spring/Break Art Show, and Performa 11, among others. Grullón is also a contributing author to Rhetoric, Social Value and the Arts: But How Does it Work?, ed. Nicola Mann and Charlotte Bonham-Carter (Palgrave Macmillan, London). Recent activities include the Shandaken Project inaugural artist residency on Governors Island and the Bronx Museum of the Arts AIM Alum program at 80 White Street. Grullón is an adjunct professor at School of Visual Arts (SVA) and City University of New York (CUNY).

Nitasha Dhillion is a writer, artist, educator, and organizer. As member of MTL Collective, Dhillion co-founded Decolonize This Place (DTP), an action-oriented movement centering around Indigenous struggle, Black liberation, free Palestine, dismantling patriarchy, global wage workers, and de-gentrification. Since 2016, DTP has organized an Indigenous Peoples Day/Anti-Columbus Day tour of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City involving over 1,000 participants. Demands have included for removal of the statue of Theodore Roosevelt and the creation of a Decolonization Commission which is rooted in the process of reparations and repatriation. Dhillion has organized similar events with DTP at the Brooklyn Museum specifically around decolonization in response to the hiring of Kristen Windmuller-Luna, as consulting curator for African art, criticizing this hiring decision as proof of the disconnect between the museum and its surrounding community. In December 2018, DTP organized an action at the Whitney Museum to protest Board vice-chairman Warren Kanders' ownership of Safariland, the manufacturer of tear gas used against  members of the 2018 migrant caravan along the US-Mexico border, Ferguson, Palestine and Standing Rock. This was followed in January 2019 by a public town hall on the issue calling for Kanders' resignation from the Whitney Board. Dhillion's writings have been published in October, Artforum, Journal of Visual Culture, Hyperallergic, Dissent Magazine, Creative Time Reports, and Brooklyn Rail, among others. She is a contributing author with Paula Chakravartty to The Gulf: High Culture/Hard Labor edited by Andrew Ross from Oregon Books. Dhillion has lectured at major universities in the United States and abroad including at Brown University, Magnum Foundation, SUNY Stony Brook, University of Chicago, SUNY Purchase, University of Colorado, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the School of Visual Arts. Most recently, Dhillion presented for the 3rd Rencontres of the Franz Fanon Foundation on "Visual Art and Decolonial Aesthetics in the Spirit of Bandung" at Rugters University Advanced Institute for Critical Caribbean Studies. Dhillion will be defending her Dissertation, "Institutional Liberation and Decolonial Practices in Contemporary Art and Media," Spring 2019 at the State University of New York at Buffalo where she is also an adjunct in the Department of Media Study.