Decolonising Arts and Visual Culture

The Body as a Battlefield – Discussing Body Sovereignty and Reproductive Justice
Dekolonisierung in Kunst und visueller Kultur
The Body as a Battlefield – Discussing Body Sovereignty and Reproductive Justice
Dekolonisierung in Kunst und visueller Kultur

What exactly does decolonisation in art mean? How can art be perceived as a medium through and with which processes of decolonisation are initiated? This is important for producers as well as recipients of art, who thus may be encouraged to develop new perspectives.

What role do own artistic and cultural interventions of Black artist and artists of Colour play in analysing cultures of remembrance in Germany and Europe – especially while coming to terms with and overcoming the traumata connected to these? What significance do artistic interventions nowadays have for societal self-perception and political activism? The existences of colonial continuities is again very visible nowadays and reminds us how important any form of anti-colonial anti-racist resistance remains.
It is these questions we would like to explore in this series. With the help of several different events we will approach these topics theoretically as well as performatively.


flyer-dekolonisierung pdf version

Evening Events:

Kick-off event: 10th June, 7 p.m.: Opening of the exhibition ‚Blowback‘

by Rajkamal Kahlon. Accompanied by a lecture and artist-talk by and with Sandrine Micossé-Aikins.
In cooperation with the OKK – Organ of Critical Arts. The event will take place in the OKK: okk/room 29, Prinzenallee 29, 13359 Berlin-Wedding. Rajkamal Kahlon’s work online (Wheelchair accessible with a ramp)


In recent years German cultural institutions, especially theatres have been heavily criticised for their use of racist artistic means. Mostly those critical interventions have been labeled overly „aggressive“, „violent“ and not seldomly even as „censorship“. The violence inherent in racist imagery and stories is rarely recognized as such. Their role as triggers or at least justification for actual physical violence against racialized bodies remains largely overlooked. Based on Rajkamal Kahlon’s exhibition “Blowback”, Sandrine Micossé-Aikins will talk about the potential, possibilities, challenges and limits of cultural work as a tool of (decolonial) resistance.

Event on Facebook here



Duration of exhibition: June 10th – July 10th. Opening hours okk: Thursday-Sunday 3-7pm.

Audio recording Kick-Off

16th June, 7 p.m.: Lecture and performance: Making Knowledge Archives of Black People and People of Colour Visible

Lecture by Rena Onat with a performance by Serfiraz Vural.

In her input Rena Onat will take a painting by the Artist of Colour Sunanda Mesquita as a starting point, for talking about how, – through art – Black/PoC (queer-) feminist perspectives and knowledge archives are made visible. Or better still: How (queer) feminist Black Artists and artists of Colour use art for processes of queering and decolonising in a way, that does not only provide resistance against racism and heteronormativity but at the same time entails a utopian potential in the sense of José Esteban Munoz‘ concepts/terms of Utopia and Queer Futurity. Making knowledge archives visible or claiming authorship over knowledge created by Black People and People of Colour springing from reflexions on experiences of racism and white supremacy, is a central theme in Sunanda Mesquitas  painting „Silenced by Academia“. Besides this though, the work also refers to the possibilites of radical utopian (queer) feminist Black/PoC Collectivity/Community and solidarity.

24th June, 6pm: Open Studio with Rajkamal Kahlon

Within the context of Kolonie Wedding

26th June, 7pm: Artist-Talk from and with Rajkamal Kahlon

(Eng.), Location: OKK – organ of critical arts. Within the context of Kolonie Wedding

22nd September, 6pm: In the Breaks – Decolonising Popular Music

Soundinstallation and Input by Janine Jembere and Sky Deep with following Artist Talk. (Eng.)

In dialogue through records of heroines, one hit wonders and music business saboteurs we’ll tune in to the sonic aspects of resistance against opression, refusal of the status quo and revolts in all volumes. Through listening and answering to musical approaches of the political, we’ll ask how different expressions of social struggle can be aligned with the quest for decolonization.
The evening is tracing different sonic strategies across a history of (mostly) North Atlantic music. Celebrating songs that aim at empowering, collective analysing, voicing brokenness, breaking and mobilizing. In the breaks is the space and time that will be shared and dedicated to the sounds of sorrow, rage, courage and joy.

für den Event auf facebook

6th October, 6pm: Decolonising Art and Visual Culture – Reconstructing Homelands Through Writing

Talk and performance with Sinthujan Varatharaja and Garunya Karunaharamoorthy followed by audience discussion.

Following the destruction of the Jaffna Library in 1981 as part of a Sri Lankan state-led strategy of war and genocide against Eelam Tamil people, much of Eelam Tamil literary production has been concerned with the violence inflicted upon Tamil bodies and its tragic aftermaths. Today, more than a third of Eelam Tamils have been displaced from their homeland and live in exile across Asia, Europe, North America and Australia. This includes renowned writers and other critical artists who sought refuge in unfamiliar landscapes. Exile has, however, also given birth to a new generation of writers and narrative styles that have shaken up the Tamil literature world. What does exile then mean for Eelam Tamil people and their rich literary body?

In this session, Garunya Karunahamoorthy and Sinthujan Varatharajah interrogate how statelessness affects the contemporary literary existence of Eelam Tamils as a displaced people and what challenges exile produces for storytelling.

Facebook event

20th October, 6pm: Artificial Irruptions: A Journey to Emancipation

Live Video-Performance von Rima Najdi & Zara Zandieh (Eng.)

A typographical journey of the heart emancipated herself from the brain.

The heart says:

“You pretend to know. You pretend that the brain makes your daily decisions. Rationality is not only considered “civilized” but also a Eurocentric way of putting everything in relation to one another and shaping constellations within this planet. Shaping how your positioning and perspectives, your values and morals, your belief systems and identities are related to everything.

Do you believe you know? Are you more in control when you trust your rational decisions and thoughts?”

She whispers: “I will show you a secret you already know.”

Facebook event

03. November, 18h: Resisting Invisibilities: Performing (De)Colonialities

Performance mit Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro (Eng.)

Risk is essential in the concept & practice of democracy because it defines the moment when one chooses to make images or chooses to live them”

Bikoro uses live art practices and digital photography story-telling to create living and performative archives contesting the nature of our cultures, histories and identity. Her research is a decolonial time-machine reacting to sense-memory and political landscapes to create Human Monuments about spaces and peoples across all cultures to re-invent memorial post colonial gestures towards freedom. These narratives are based on true stories and meander with visual fictions.

Bikoro is a conceptual artist from the region of Woleu-Ntem in Gabon and is presently based in Berlin. The crossing of creative disciplines reframes her work in various formats within visual cultural discourses, continuously attempting relations with the context and site in which she is operating. She reframes the contextualisation of creative multi-disciplinarity through the process of collaboration with Theatre of the Oppressed (theatre of decolonisation from Brasil), and Squat Monuments, a developing theoretical practice by Bikoro on decolonising histories and literatures in public space as forms of resistance, protest and community archive. Some of her recent collaborators are with Berlin Tempelhof Refugee Centre, ETEO Black Diaspora School, Manière Noire Gallery, Kuringa Theatre (Anastacia Laboratory & Theatre of the Oppressed), Savvy Contemporary, Gallerie Wedding, AfricAvenir, HAU Berlin & District Shöneberg.

She is an Associate Lecturer in Political Visual Cultures, Philosophy & Fine Arts and is curatorial director of Squat Museum centered around visual arts methods of decolonisation across cultures and geographies such as Brazil, Canada, Mexico, China, India & Africa. She also directs curatorial and artistic projects such as Future Monuments, Squat Monuments, and LAB Encounters Laboratory of Live Art in Senegal.

Her current visual curatorial projects include Future Monuments, Meeting U.F.O’s Performance & Film, Squat Museum (Latin America & West Africa), Live Art Biennale Encounters Senegal, Anastacia Laboratory for African Women and Squat Monuments at District Berlin where she is currently on an artist residency research producing her first sci-fi feature film on decolonial histories on Berlin Tempelhof. # # #

Event on Facebook

Closing Event: 18th November, 6pm: Visibility or Opacity: how can one create art that fails to denounce the inhumanity of the bourgeois ideology?

Installation/Performance by RajuRage:

Join Raju Rage for a performative presentation and interactive conversation about legacy, unarchiving, femininity, queerness and the politics of art.

Raju Rage’s work interrogates the ways in which history and memory, in/visibility and the affect of politics, space, symbolism, stereotypes, ethnic codes, ideology and gazes impact the body, with a focus on race, class and gender.

They work in live art, performance, soundscapes and moving image, focusing on de-con-structive techniques of resistance such as interruption, confusion, disturbance. They primarily use their non-conforming body as a vehicle of assemblage and embodiment.

Closing panel:

With Rena Onat, RajuRage, Sunanda Mesquita and Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro (Eng.)

In Cooperation with Stadtteilzentrum-Familiengarten/Aile Bahçesi des Kotti e.V., Oranienstraße 34, 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg. (Wheelchair accessible)

Impulse Workshops:

7th July, 5pm: Noah Sow: „Out of Control“: Artist Presentation – Impulses and Exchange

This event is explicitly directed at Black People and People of Colour.

Noah Sow is well known as an author. Her Works in the field of Fine Arts are however equally remarkable. Multimedia installations, short films, audio art, digital conceptual art and performance are just some of the methods of her choice. On this day Noah Sow will be presenting some of her works. Noah Sow’s philosophy is to produce in as multifaceted a way as possible, so that all persons from the diasporas can choose their own level of approach.

Her work deals with decolonisation, pop, empowerment, resilience, changing of the gaze, Black art and media. After the presentation there will be space for questions and exchange.

For a teaser of Noah Sow’s work pls. visit:

After the talk there will be a possiblity for exchange with Noah Sow for Black People and People of Colour involved in arts and visual culture.

We would like to ask you to please register for the second part of the evening under: with a 1-2 sentences regarding your artistc field and/or current artistic. interest.

The event will be held in German and is free of charge. Deadline for registration: June 30th 2016.

If necessary we can provide Eng. translation and would ask you to contact us for this under: 

17th November, 5pm: RajuRage: Re-Mapping Art and Creativity

Please register under: with a few sentences regarding your motivation for taking part in the workshop.
The workshop will be held in English and is free of charge. Deadline for registration: 15th Nov. 2016

A workshop to share and map creative resources that address race/ism in arts curriculum. we will create our own creative visual map and locating our own art histories.

Who are the artists that inspire you?

Who are your favourite artists/creatives/collectives?

Which histories are you/we not taught about?

A creative workshop exploring various decolonial and accountability processes and work. This workshop will creatively explore surviving and thriving in and out of the art school as black and people of colour artists and creatives. Using the ‚Surviving the Art School‘ Publication, produced by Collective Creativity and Nottingham Contemporary, an art collective that Raju Rage is a part of, as well as several other pedagogy resources, as a starting point in order to gain insight into what it visually entails to map our own histories of art. please bring resources to share with the group.

Concept & Curation: Iris Rajanayagam (From Aug. 2016 on parental leave)
Coordination from Aug 2016: Mai Zeidani Yufanyi
Flyer Artwork by Rajkamal Kahlon (from the series „Blowback“)


In Cooperation with:

logo_okk1_neuOKK – organ of ctritical arts                      KOTTI-Logo_Familiengarten_freigestelltKotti e.V.

Funded by:



Short bios of participating persons

Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro: conceptual artist presently based in Berlin. Bikoro reframes the contextualisation of creative multi-disciplinarity through the process of collaboration with Theatre of the Oppressed (theatre of decolonisation from Brasil), and Squat Monumuents, a developing theoretical practice by Bikoro on decolonising histories and literatures in public space as forms of resistance, protest and community archive.

Sky Deep: Producer, DJ and performer. In her work and music Sky Deep engages primarily with the topics black music, postcolonial theory within the context of music and production of musical knowledge and was recently involved in the project ‘female:pressure’ presented during the CTM.

Janine Jembere: works in various constellations on performances, radio features, interventions and films. Lately realised, together with Michael Götting, the inclusive performance ‚Decolonize Bodies! Minds! Perceptions!’ at Ballhaus Naunynstrasse and together with Yara Spaett the performance project ‚Female Gaze’. Currently she researches sensual hierarchies as a Ph.D. Student in Vienna.

Rajkamal Kahlon: Artist and educator. Kahlon’s drawings, paintings and performative installations employ overlapping strategies of critical aethetics and absurd humour in order to interrupt the pedagogical function of texts and images that can be found in historical and contemporary colonial archives. Kahlon’s works were exhibited in Berlin among others in Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Wilhelm Hack Museum and the NGBK.

Garunya Karunaharamoorthy: studied Franco-German and European Studies in Berlin (FU Berlin), Paris (Sciences Po, Sorbonne-Nouvelle) and London (LSE) and holds a diploma in Tamil (TBV) as well as in Carnatic music (OFAAL), and is a trained Bharathanatyam dancer. Garunya Karunaharamoorthy is executive editor at Lexxion Publisher and teacher at Tamilische Bildungsvereinigung e.V. in Berlin.

Sunanda Mesquita is a visual artist, educator and film maker. Currently she is studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna with an emphasis on Education in the Arts and Video & Video Installation. Influenced by DuBoi’s concept of „double-consiousness”, she deals with issues of citizenship, belonging and concepts of home. As part of her artistic practice she leads workshops in schools and universities with a focus on empowerment of Students of Colour, the critical interrogation of epistemic violence in knowledge production and the mediation of history. Since 2014 she is deputy chair of the Equal Opportunities Team at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

Sandrine Micossé-Aikins: Curator and Arts scientist and activist. She looks into racism and empowermen tin arts, the  efficacy of colonial images, body politics as well as represenation and participation in the German arts and culture scene. Since may 2016 managing director of  „Berliner Projektfonds kulturelle Bildung“

Rima Najdi: performance artist currently based in Berlin. She works across disciplines including performance, video, installation and design. Najdi has a Diploma in Dramatic Arts (2008) from High Arts Institute, Lebanese University, Beirut, and an MA in Performance Studies (2011) from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, U.S.A.

Rena Onat: is currently working on her Ph.D. thesis entitled ‚Strategies of Resistance, Empowerment and of survival in the work of queer artists of Colour within the German context‘. She is Assistant Professor in the area of media science at the Braunschweig University of Art (HBK). Her research interest is the interface of Visual Culture Studies and Queer of Colour Critique

RageRaju: interdisciplinary artist and creative-critical author RajuRage acts proactively with regard to elaborating space, self-representation and self-empowerment and in this connection uses art and activism as well as their combination in order to address and discuss topics like diaspora, racism and transdiscrimination.

Noah Sow: artist, author, producer, lecturer, media profesional , theorist, activist, motivational speaker. Focus: Art critical media analysis, constructions of normality as well as analysis and praxis of decolonisation and fighting racism and decolonisation.

Sinthujan Varatharajah: is a doctoral student in Political Geography at University College London. His analysis the spatial politics of asylum and refugee resistance to encampment in Germany. He holds a MSc. from the LSE in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonialism and works as a project coordinator and community manager for Flüchtlinge Willkommen (Refugees Welcome) in Berlin.

Serfiraz Vural: socioligist and theater pedagogue. Currently she is studying performance studies at the University of Hamburg (MA). She works as Empowerment- and anti-racism trainer. Her working fields are amongst others Bodies in Resistance and decolonisation of the body.

Zara Zandieh: Zara Zandieh: works as an independent filmmaker and camerawoman in Berlin. She studied cinematography at the film school “filmArche” in Berlin and is currently working on her graduation film. She gives workshops, works as a cinematographer, and makes different film and video formats for various organisations and customers. In her own films and artistic work she follows a minimalistic and poetic narrative approach and language, which invites the audience to take-up unfamiliar perspectives.
She completed her MA in Gender, Ethnic Studies and Sexualities at the University of East London in 2006.

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