Il Cono d’Ombra (The Shadow Cone) – Group Show

Castel Nuovo, Naples, Italy
25 Jun 2022 - 25 Aug 2022

Nidhal Chamekh, Le battement des ailes No. V . 2017. Graphite, ink and transfer on cotton paper, 23 x 32.5 cm. Courtesy of Nidhal Chamekh and Selma Feriani gallery

Nidhal Chamekh, Le battement des ailes No. V . 2017. Graphite, ink and transfer on cotton paper, 23 x 32.5 cm. Courtesy of Nidhal Chamekh and Selma Feriani gallery

From June 25, Castel Nuovo will be hosting Il Cono d’Ombra (The Shadow Cone) Decolonial narratives of Overseas, a project by Black Tarantella (Naples) and FM Centre for Contemporary Art (Milan), with the patronage of the City of Naples. The exhibition, curated by Marco Scotini, artistic director of FM Centre for Contemporary Art, covers two areas of Castel Nuovo (the Antisala dei Baroni in the first floor, north wing and the Sala dell’Armeria on the ground floor) that were part of the Second International Exhibition of Colonial Art held precisely in Naples, in the Maschio Angoino, from October 1, 1934 to January 31, 1935.

The artists, some of international fame, invited to participate come from diverse geographic regions and are part of the contemporary African diaspora: Kader Attia (Algeria/France, 1970), Yto Barrada (Morocco, 1971), Intissar Belaid (Tunisia, 1984), Nidhal Chamekh (Tunisia, 1985), Jermay Michael Gabriel (Ethiopia/Eritrea/Italy, 1997), Kiluanji Kia Henda (Angola, 1979), Delio Jasse (Angola, 1980), Ibrahim Mahama (Ghana, 1987), Muna Mussie (Eritrea/Italy, 1978), Pamina Sebastião (Angola, 1988), Pascale Marthine Tayou (Cameroon, 1967), Amina Zoubir (Algeria, 1983).

Despite the fact that, today, the removal of Italy’s colonial past has been compensated by a wealth of historic and academic studies compared to 20 years ago, the Il Cono d’Ombra exhibition is stimulated by the need to discover further (more experimental and less established) conceptual categories where they are not counter-narrative or decolonial representations which allow a rethinking of this historic experience in a changed socio-political context. Far from being a contested inheritance, Fascist colonial politics in Italy have been the subject of very few exhibition opportunities and very few critical reconfigurations of the collected museum objects.

What is at stake in Il Cono d’Ombra is the desire to allow the African artists who have been working for many years on colonial and post-colonial issues, to create the displays of these cultural memories (idiosyncratic objects and heterogeneous montages). In some way, it will only be possible to overcome presumed white innocence through a counter-narrative driven by the ex-colonial subjects who, as in an inverted mirror, can open up other representations, a programme of re-mediation and reparation, despite the fact that history, as such, appears to be irreparable (Aimé Césaire).

The title Il Cono d’Ombra refers to that archaeology of power (who does the Archive belong to?) that possesses the authority for naming, classifying but also silencing and obliterating. The acknowledgement of other histories that have remained in the shadows, buried by the luminosity of the exclusive nature of those of the West, requires a fundamental calling into question of the constitution of our knowledge.

Il Cono d’Ombra exhibition is dedicated to Lidia Curti (1932–2021), the co-founder of the Centre for Postcolonial and Gender Studies in Naples.




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