How does one begin to dismantle structural processes of marginalisation, neglect and abuse? How does one act against systemic racism?
The past few months have seen an extraordinary group of individuals around the globe denouncing current and historical struggles against racial discrimination, calling for revolutionary reforms in technocracy and its representatives. People decided that the urge to collectively organise transcended self-preservation and lockdown – that raising together in a single voice was the way to advocate for real change.
In my mind, this signals the end of grand gestures; the certainty of the statement alone is over, no longer a ruling principle. A time for the crowds, the placards, the dialogues. We embrace enquiry with a certain enthusiasm, aware of the need for doing the groundwork, the necessary soul searching. Anti-racist action can only work when we commit collectively to its end, when each of us does our part – an enduring and long-term committed task.
There is a striking photograph by the recently deceased George Hallet, to whom we dedicate this Fortnightly Highlight, entitled ‘First Encounter’, in which he portrays a group of women laughing as they walk to embrace Nelson Mandela during his 1994 campaign. The joy and hope in their faces – in what was thought to be an impossible moment in transitioning post-apartheid South Africa – is a symbol for those of us who pursue change that the vital but unimaginable can be attained.
We would like invite you to listen to Hallet’s words in George Hallett and Exiled Voices with curator Christine Eyene as part of her recording session for the Pan African Space Station (PASS); watch a pivotal manifestation of Mammmmmyyyyywaaaata, artist Alberta Whittle’s mythological avatar in her mission to discuss decolonisation and disrupt binaries; engage with Larry Achiampong’s heart-warming and harmonic exploration of Highlife in his project MEH MOGYA (A Sample of Me); and reflect upon Tremaine Emory’s installation A Proper Burial Finally, Thanks America which reimagines ideas of mourning, reparation and hope. Please also explore and contribute to our growing, open source space for anti-racist resources.
Elvira Dyangani Ose
Director, The Showroom
Image: George Hallett photographs in The Chimurega Library, 2015. Exhibition co-curated by Chimurenga, The Otolith Collective and The Showroom. Photo: Daniel Brooke. Courtesy the George Hallett archive and Christine Eyene at the University of Central Lancashire, and Chimurenga