Refugee Monument, Ehsan Fardjadniya
Weeping Marx, Aylin Kuryel
all god’s chillun got wings… rhythm to push away the blues, Chimira Natanna Obiefule
Monuments can be a space of refuge, offering a place to gather and hide. Monuments can also agitate and push us to be on the run, away from the normative discourse that welcomes some bodies and stories over others. Commemorative practices and counter archival work can create never recognized spaces, and change how we know and feel a place. Ehsan Fardjadniya, Aylin Kuryel and Chimira Natanna Obiefule each propose a monument for the city of Amsterdam.
Aylin Kuryel is a lecturer at the Literary and Cultural Analysis department at the University of Amsterdam. Her research areas are nationalism, image politics, aesthetics/resistance, and politics of emotions. She is the co-editor of Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas and Possibilities (Rodopi, 2010), Resistance and Aesthetics in the Age of Global Uprisings (Iletisim Press, 2015), Being Jewish in Turkey: A Dictionary of Experiences (Iletisim Press, 2017) and Essays on Boredom (2020, Iletisim Press). She has been involved in projects as an artist and is working as a documentary filmmaker. Among her documentaries are Taboo (2009), Image Acts (2015), Welcome Lenin (2016), Heads and Tails (2018), CemileSezgin (2020), The Balcony and Our Dreams (2020), A Defense (2021), Translating Ulysses (2022), The Thing That Goes Through Everything (2022), Defense (2021), The Balcony and Our Dreams (2020).
Ehsan Fardjadniya: In my 10 years of experience as a performance artist, I have developed a method of emancipatory art whereby socio-political relations can be treated as performative practices to impact larger political issues. Departing from Situationist art practices where interventions are temporary and from the outside, in my method I make interventions from within where my body is situated. Art and activism merge in my work as a reflection of the politicisation of my body as a person of colour and a political exile. I am particularly interested in issues of borders and migration. Because of my personal experience as a refugee and my struggles with institutional racism, precarious migration stories go through my body, making it an archive that howls throughout my art. My name is Ehsan Fardjadniya. I am a visual and performance artist. In 2000, due to my political cartoons, I was exiled from Iran and consequently applied for refugee status in the Netherlands. I graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Art in The Hague in 2006, followed by a two-year Master degree on art as politics with a particular focus on refugee rights at Goldsmiths University of London. I have since worked on various collaborative and solo performances, which combine various techniques such as theatre and storytelling with video-making practices. all god’s chillun got wings… rhythm to push away the blues.
Chimira Natanna Obiefule: Da Beyond. Starting as my own centre, I prioritise a labour of love at the very core of my worlds not works. Following the ancestor Audre Lorde, I embrace the erotic–the emotions guided by my deepest intuition for joy–as the source of my knowledge production. Additionally leaning on the support of my sistah Saidiya Hartman’s ideas on the innate revolutionary quality of the beauty of Black ordinariness in the face of Black fungibility and social death, It is my erotic that allows for the actualisation of freedom within the very waywardness of the poetry of my existence. Da Beyond. I am interested in the beyond of our physical space and language, the materialisations of oppression. I am interested in the non-language of freedom. Soul!! I am interested in the Black forms of expression that enable transcendence and nu language, world destruction and renewal. I am interested in the very strategy of my being, the undeniable nature of my intuition to rise, to live, to laugh and to love. Da Beyond.
My practice additionally draws from Alice Turiya Coltrane, John Coltrane, Toni Morrison, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Frantz Fanon, Ben Okri, My Ancestors and Chi, my personal portion of god.