Listening to the Echoes of the South Atlantic – Group Show
Oslo Kunstforening , Oslo, Norway 06 Feb 2020 - 05 Apr 2020
Video still from Jeannette Ehlers, Black Magic At The White House, 2009 (detail)
Listening to the Echoes of the South Atlantic is an interdisciplinary exhibitionthat features the work of Cássio Bomfim, Jeannette Ehlers, Anita Ekman, Satch Hoyt, William Kentridge, Neo Muyanga, Camille Norment, Dawit L. Petros, and Nyugen E. Smith. The videos, sound-based sculptures, installations, and performances are all connected to the entangled histories of the South Atlantic.
The deep interconnectivity between music and history is the underlying narrative of the exhibition. Building on the importance of music in relation to what Paul Gilroy refers to as “the Atlantic as a system of cultural exchanges”, the exhibition addresses the significance of music as a collective language of resistance and solidarity.
As the works in the exhibition convey, music and sound are particularly effective means of bringing history into contemporary space. The sonic heartbeat of the exhibition is found in socially engaged and historically conscious art practices that extend beyond the strict parameters of visual art, music, or performance.
The participating artists guide us on what Satch Hoyt refers to as a journey from slave ship to spaceship. Highlights along the way include the Tupi-Valongo Cemetery, where Pankararu indigenous chants are interspersed with the sounds of gunshots from a favela; the Danish Marienborg residence, with its strong connection to the triangular trade, where Jeannette Ehlers performs a Vodou dance, and a haptic sound installation by Camille Norment that explores sonic interconnectivity conveyed through a soundscape that ranges from Tibetan monk chants to African-American church hymns.
African-American musical traditions are at the center of most discourses about musical migrations within the Black Atlantic, and rightfully so. Shifting the focus ever so slightly, this exhibition places particular emphasis on the social, political, and cultural links between African, Latin American, and Caribbean musical traditions. As such, the exhibition is shaped into a comprehensive narrative that spans hundreds of years, transcending history, belief systems, and cultures.
This exhibition was conceived as part of Selene Wendt’s participation in the three-year interdisciplinary research project Echoes of the South Atantic, initiated by Goethe-Institut, Sao Paulo (2018-2020). The first stage of the research project was held in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil in 2018, followed by Berlin in 2019, and will conclude in Dakar, Senegal in May 2020.
Additionally, a series of live performances will take place at Nordic Black Theatre, Oslo throughout the exhibition period. The events are free of charge.