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Goethe-Institut London presents Practicing Freedom

Fall 2022

Poetic Intervention—The Afterlives of Objects: October 14, 7:30pm, live conversation between museum directors Wayne Modest and Nanette Snoep
Goethe-Institut Amsterdam

Symposium in Lagos: November 8–10,discussion about practicing and performing decoloniality in various lectures and performances
African Artists’ Foundation Lagos

The Moving Museum by Theo Eshetu: December 7, 7pm, film screening followed by a conversation between Theo Eshetu and Selene Wendt
Goethe-Institut London

An initiative by the Goethe-Institut that focuses on cultural heritage, research, and the arts and was created by the creative directors Amal Alhaag and Selene Wendt.

Along with a growing awareness of the existence of various social injustices in society, persistent discussions about the return of cultural heritage items that were stolen in various colonial contexts have gained traction in recent years. Artists, communities, activist groups, and intellectuals from the Global South and the diaspora are crucial to these discussions and debates because their voices and participation are essential to re-imagine and re-define how we think about the care and afterlives of illegally obtained artifacts and cultural objects currently housed in European collections.

The book Regarded Self by Kaiama L. Glover serves as the source of inspiration for the idea of Practicing Freedom. Practicing Freedom’s title alludes to Glover’s thinking’s extreme potential. It aids in defining the project’s goals and objectives while also allowing for a variety of paths and storylines to take place during its course, serving as a conceptual beginning point for the various journeys we will take throughout the project, both individually and collectively.

By emphasizing artistic practices, cultural activity, and projects that are built on a commitment to radical transformation and change-making, we hope to create opportunities for people to discuss the subject of restitution together through this project. Practicing Freedom is also about overcoming cultural amnesia through routine memory work and an understanding of the knowledge and spiritual systems that are connected to cultural heritage objects. Cultural heritage objects are at the center of the project, and even more crucially, the life and spirit of cultural heritage objects serve as depositories of flows and energies. Practicing Freedom will take the form of workshops, residencies, public gatherings, conversations, lectures, artistic interventions, a final exhibition project and publication that will tie the various threads of the project together, as well as existing collaborative initiatives and research projects.

These are the upcoming events in Amsterdam, Lagos and London.

The first public event, hosted in collaboration with the Research Center for Material Culture and the Franco-German Cultural Fund, will take place at Goethe Institut, Amsterdam on October 14 at 7:30pm. The program features a live conversation, The Afterlives of Objects, between Wayne Modest (Director of Content National Museum of World Cultures, Rotterdam and Head of the Research Center for Material Culture, Amsterdam), Nanette Snoep (Director of the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, Cologne), and visual artist and writer Quinsy Gario. For more detailed information about Practicing Freedom or to sign up for this public event, please follow this link: The Afterlives of Objects

We are pleased to be collaborating with the African Artists’ Foundation, Lagos to host a symposium that will take place at AAF on November 8–10.  Discussions will be organized around the following themes: Practicing and Performing Decoloniality; Designing Towards a Reparative Future; Poetics and Practices of (Im)material Culture and Artistic Strategies of Ancestral Healing. Aspects of the program will be open to the public, including performances and lectures, as well as a workshop component conceived to democratize and connect the art community in Lagos in one dialogical space. To sign up for this event, please follow this link: Lagos Symposium

A special screening of Theo Eshetu´s film The Moving Museum: Arrivals and Departures (2021) will take place at Goethe-Institut, London on December 7 at 7pm.  The Moving Museum documents the process of moving the collections of the Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art into the recently opened Humboldt Forum, Berlin. The film will be followed by a conversation between Theo Eshetu and Selene Wendt. To sign up for this event, please follow this link: The Moving Museum