On Friday, 19 November there will be two panels talking about the content of the exhibition:
Art & Representation of Genocide
Robert Rodriguez (Scholar, A & M University, Texas, USA)
Mercia Kandukira (Artist/Scholar, SUNY Binghamton University, USA)
Marcelo Brodsky (Artist, Argentina & Spain )
Heike Becker (Scholar/Author, University of Western Cape, South Africa)
Hildegard Titus (Artist, Windhoek, Namibia)
Uazuvara Ewald Kapombo Katjivena (Author, Artist, Kristiansand, Norway)
Genocide in Namibia
Sima Luipert (Nama Genocide technical Committee, Namibia)
Ngondi Kamatuka (Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, USA)
Barnabas Katuuo (Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, USA)
Vepuka Kauari (Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, USA)
Rolando Vazquez (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)
Wolfgang Kaleck (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, (ECCHR), Berlin. (coordinator)
The first genocide of the 20th century was committed by the German Empire between 1904 and 1908 in South West Africa, today Namibia. The genocide was directed against the Nama and Herero ethnic groups, indigenous peoples of this region. In their work, Marcelo Brodsky and Hildegard Titus, who are both artists and human rights activists, address this crime against humanity, the way in which it is remembered and reappraised.
Marcelo Brodsky believes in the importance of art for the social debate, especially in its power to influence public opinion and attract media attention. During his activist work, Brodsky met the German human rights lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck - founder and director of ECCHR (European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights). Following this encounter, Brodsky invited the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation based in Namibia to develop an art project on their case and present it in Berlin.
The series will be shown alongside work by Hildegard Titus. Her series titled ‚Us Now‘ is a conversation and a dialogue that aims for remembrance and healing. It is an invitation to connect with young Namibians from various backgrounds expressing their stories, their feelings, their aspirations. By speaking about the ways in which the narrators relate to their heritage and identity, the works also touch upon the ways in which we all relate to one another.
Both artists will participate in a panel discussion on 19 November. On this evening, we will also present the new book TRACES OF VIOLENCE, published on the occasion of this exhibition.
MARCELO BRODSKY, born 1954 in Buenos Aires, is an international human rights activist and visual artist. His work focusses on visual language, memory and human rights. He combines text and images to convey meaning and to build up alternative narratives. The photographs Brodsky collected from archives, agencies and universities for two years were taken by the colonialists or their helpers (soldiers, missionaries, journalists, etc.). They are irrefutable evidence of the brutal violence of the perpetrators. After reading Mark Sealy‘s book “Decolonizing the Camera”, which claims that every time a colonialist image is shown, its violence is reproduced, Brodsky decided to radically rework these images.
As in his previous series of works, Brodsky blows the images up retouches the colours by hand, hereby taking existing aesthetics to an extreme. The beautiful becomes more beautiful, the horrible becomes more horrific. His own short text contribution, typical of his works, expresses the voice and point of view of the colonizers in every single coloured photo. The images show violence explicitly, which makes them rather disturbing for the viewer.
His work is held in various collections such as the Tate, London, The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, the Pinacoteca del Estado, Sao Pau- lo,Brazil, the National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, a.o. Brodsky has represented Argentina in several international biennials such as San Pablo (2010), Valencia (2007), Rotterdam (2000), Photo Spain (1999), among others. Marcelo lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
HILDEGARD TITUS, born 1990, is a photojournalist, filmmaker, visual artist and curator based in Windhoek. She passionately addresses topics such as gender, identity, culture and race. She works as a freelance photo and video journalist for Agence France Presse and The Namibian.
Her work series ‚Us Now‘ is a conversation and a dialogue for remembering and healing as she defines in her artist statement:
Namibia’s history did not begin with independence 28 years ago. It did not even begin when colonialism or apartheid first took over this region that was once called South West Africa. Our journey began thousands of years ago, as our ancestors left their marks on the world in caves to be seen and remembered for millennia to come. It began when our ancestors held ceremonies and feasts for every aspect of life, from birth to death. It began long before our cultures were brought together under the new utopian vision of a free and equal Namibia.
While we were focused on celebrating freedom and overcoming a past plagued by dark moments – war, genocide, apartheid – we forgot to truly listen to each other and heal wounds that had begun to fester. Tribalism, racism, colourism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and xenophobia continue to stain our country. We spend more time breaking each other down than listening to one another.
Hildegard lives and works in Windhoek, Namibi.