Dig Where You Stand—From Coast to Coast | SSCA Tamale|
Tamale | 2022

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Dig Where You Stand—From Coast to Coast is a series of exhibitions offering a new model of engagement with questions of decolonization, restitution, and repatriation. Developed around the idea of regeneration, the exhibition becomes an experimental site
for capital, ecology, and resource repatriation – both tangible and symbolic, an exercise in the reclamation of the commons. By shifting the decolonial paradigm away from Western museums towards a location-specific, solution-oriented approach, the exhibition explores the regenerative potential of art across the African continent and its diasporas.

The title of the exhibition is derived from “Gräv där du står”, by Swedish author Sven

Lindqvist, who drew inspiration from public history campaigns in sixties post-revolutionary China. The resultant movement encouraged workers to research and write

about the history of their workplaces, and counter the version of events told exclusively from the point of view of their employers. We frame the project as loci for art making using imagination and collaborative labour that involves communities.

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Dig Where You Stand showcases sustainable models of syncopation of existing systems of legitimation and market value creation that reverses the extraction of resources and capital back towards the African continent. That is to say, from raw material to materialising the ideals of art making. Featuring the works of Ibrahim Mahama and the Cercle d'Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) & Renzo Martens, Bright Tetteh Ackwerh, Kingsley Ayogu, Moufouli Bello, Ralph Borland, Joana Choumali, Victor Ehikhamenor, Raquel van Haver, Zanele Muholi, Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi, Yinka Shonibare, Emmanuel Sogbadji, Adeju Thompson, and Tola Wewe, the exhibition envisions the strategies of liberation from the ongoing extractive processes of economy in and outside the art world. The exhibition not only brings together examples of regenerative artistic practices but also acts as a regenerative agent in itself –in each location leaving behind a toolkit for jumpstarting regenerative economic processes.

DWYS from Coast to Coast will travel through coastal African cities, with a special focus on cities with so called ‘points-of-no-return’; thereby placing an emphasis on voyage, (dis)placement, migration, labour, circulation of goods and commodities and the agency of contemporary art within this discourse beyond institutional critique and so called Afro-futurist imaginaries. It puts to test the agency of the work of artists within these tropes as we emerge into our present timeline accelerated by post pandemic conditions.

The artists and local communities will explore generative strategies of intervention, cooperation, activism, exchange and pedagogy. Dig Where You Stand will function as a discursive platform to pose questions and initiate conversations about issues grounded in the local realities, as well as in politics of dispossession and displacement across broad areas and industries – from the lasting legacies of imperialism in Africa to the intersections of privilege, access, and class. Alongside the exhibition program, a series of publications will be developed and produced in each location, offering yet another negotiated space for regenerative coproduction.

We propose a new paradigm and methodology with the objective of flattening inherited colonial hierarchies mediated by a syncopated reversal that empowers the sites and promotes future museology and knowledge regeneration.

 

Written by Azu Nwagbogu

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