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Lubumbashi hosts the Cairo and Nyanza Working Groups for an Exhibition, Work Week and Workshop at Waza Art Centre (25 November – 10 December 2018)

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The Lubumbashi Working Group invited members of the Cairo and Nyanza working groups to meet them for two weeks at Waza Arts Centre. The invitees were all member of an internal Another Roadmap working group tasked with creating an ‘exhibition kit’ for the Intertwining Hi/Stories cluster, and the aim of this gathering was to continue the reflections and practical explorations they had begun at the International Meeting of the Another Roadmap School  in Huye, Rwanda, earlier in the year. They sought primarily to explore the possibilities of materialising and (re)presenting, through an exhibition model, the research, ways of life, practices, protocols, programmes and activities conducted by the network. The meeting in Lubumbashi was attended by members of the Lubumbashi, Nyanza and Cairo Working Groups and consisted of different public and semi public engagements as well as various research meetings.

Talks
30 November 2018
Centre d'Art Waza
At the beginning of our stay, as a means of introducing ourselves to the Waza and by extension larger local community, Rana El Nemr, Andrea Thal and Christian Nyampeta gave a talk about our practice. The talk was followed by a longer Q + A and allowed us to connect to cultural workers active in Lubumbashi.

Exhibition
Tukiwaze Pamoja, Tucheze Pamoja – Recits sur l'education artistique
5 – 22 December 2018
Centre d'Art Waza

The exhibition was the second part of Waza's ongoing “Mitaaki Moments” series. The exhibition brought together materials from the Working Groups of the Africa Cluster and film works by some of the members of the groups meeting in Lubumbashi. It was conceived as a “active space” of dialogue, or a “conversation starter”, that spread throughout the various spaces that form part of Waza, such as the library, garden, central meeting space and storage areas. The exhibition was
opened with a tour by the members of the Working Groups present that took the guests through the different spaces and introduced the material shown and invited to discuss them in relation to the local context in Lubumbashi.

Workshop
Short Conversations on Art and Knowledge - Atef 2.1
Centre d'Innovation and Short Conversations on Art and Knowledge - Ernest Rana El Nemr from the Cairo Working Group facilitated a workshop that discussed the idea of “tools” and alternative education. The workshop was based on a video conversation with Atef, a cultural worker form Cairo, Egypt. During the time in Lubumbashi two meetings and a subsequent video interview for the ongoing series of “short conversations” was recorded with a musician based in Lubumbashi whose practice has shifted from being a live musician to mainly focusing on teaching and mentoring younger musicians. Research Meetings Several reserach meetings were held in the first days of the meeting and again at the very end with teaching staff and students at the Pedagogical University in Lubumbashi as well as with different philosophers based in Lubumbashi.

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DETAILED REPORT

The Lubumbashi Working Group invited members of the Cairo and Nyanza working groups to meet them for two weeks at Waza Arts Centre. The invitees were all member of an internal Another Roadmap working group tasked with creating an ‘exhibition kit’ for the Intertwining Hi/Stories cluster, and the aim of this gathering was to continue the reflections and practical explorations they had begun at the International Meeting of the Another Roadmap School  in Huye, Rwanda, earlier in the year. They sought primarily to explore the possibilities of materialising and (re)presenting, through an exhibition model, the research, ways of life, practices, protocols, programmes and activities conducted by the network.

At the meeting in Lubumbashi, this research resulted in creation of an exhibition/soirée called Tukiwaze pamoja, Tucheze pamoja, which comprised an evening programme on 5 December, and an exhibition coponent which was open to the public 5-22 December. These events were conceived of being material –  in and of themselves – and also as conceptual explorations of ARAC’s desire to conceive an exhibition kit as an evolving structure and a model adaptable to each context of use. Both the evening event (“soirée”)  and the exhibition drew on and shared stories on arts/education gathered from other ARAC locales – namely Nyanza, Johannesburg, Cairo, Kampala, Maseru and Lubumbashi.

Tukiwaze pamoja, Tucheze pamoja is Swahili for ‘those who think together dance together’–  which,  in its original English form ‘people who think together dance together’, has become something of an ARAC mantra. This saying reflects ARAC’s desire to define models for sharing knowledge that go beyond formal contexts and academic vocabularies, and to integrate various modes of exchange and conviviality into their intellectual work. It also affirms ARAC’s understanding of artistic education as a set of embodied and experiential practices. Tukiwaze pamoja, Tucheze pamoja reflects an idea and attitude, and at the Lubumbashi meeting, it served as a fundamental tenet of the creation of the Another Roadmap ‘exhibition kit.’ Building on the core principles encapsulated by Tukiwaze pamoja, Tucheze pamoja, proposals were developed for how places of (re)presentation such as Waza Art Centre might be thought of as places of knowledge production that is activated by text, music, video, discussions and exchange.

The second tenet to be identified for the exhibition kit was the collaboration with localised initiatives, struggles, artists and schools. In Lubumbashi, this objective was realised by collaborating with Centre d’Innovation de Lubumbashi (Lubumbashi Innovation Center). Additionally, groundwork was made for future collaborations with the Institut Supérieur de Pédagogie de Lubumbashi (ISP).

A third tenet to be identified for the ‘exhibition kit’ was that its users must be afforded the opportunity to add to/select/adapt research results by other working groups to the contexts in which they are mounting an exhibition of the Another Roadmap School. The users of the exhibition kit must enter a dialogue with the working groups whose they wish to adapt or change, and their consent must be sought. For Tukiwaze pamoja, Tucheze pamoja, the Cairo Working Group presented the new iteration of Rana El Nemr’s project, Short Conversations on the Economies of Art and Knowledge. This project is a series of filmed conversations about the economic models at work in artistic practices. It brings together anecdotes, ideological preferences, thoughts and other fragments that help to understand and develop the economic aspects of artistic practices and knowledge sharing. Each video conversation serves as material for a series of workshops where participants add their own experiences to it. The project’s cumulative approach makes it possible to collectively build new versions and combinations of practices and new knowledge architectures. In Lubumbashi, Rana conducted a workshop with members of the Lubumbashi Innovation Center, drawing from her video on the work of Atef Rustum, co-founder of Sabaa Sanayea, an art and design experimentation space in Cairo. Rana also created a new video interview with Ernest Tshibadi, a legendary musician in Lubumbashi.

Christian Nyampeta of the Nyanza Working Group presented his film Sometimes It Was Beautiful for the first time in Africa. Commissioned by Tensta konsthall in Stockholm in 2018, this short fictional film revisits I fetischmannens spar (In the Footsteps of the Witchdoctor, 1949), a film made in the Belgian Congo by the renowned Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist (1922-2006). Nykvist’s film is considered one of the earliest entries in ‘missionary cinema’. In revisiting this phenomenon, its historical contexts and present-day legacies, Nyampeta’s new film invites ‘unlikely friends’ whose only common ground is having been at the Stockholm Ethnography Museum, where a collection of the parents of Sven Nykvist is kept, following their missionary lives in Congo in 1930s. The speculative gathering of unlikely friends who meet to watch and to discuss Nykvist film include: politician Yasser Arafat, postcolonial queer theorist Leela Gandhi, human rights activist Rigoberta Menchú, politician Robert Mugabe, playwright Wole Soyinka and Princess Victoria of Sweden. This premiere in Lubumbashi resulted in a six-hour discussion around the question of the role of contemporary art in the mediation of heritage, repatriation and transcultural memory.

The presentations of the Lubumbashi Working Group at this meeting focussed on their ongoing research project ‘Replay 1970’,  which seeks to reconstruct the intellectual life of Lubumbashi in the 1970s. The project gives a particular attention to the life and times of the Centre of Excellence in Human Sciences at the University of Lubumbashi (then Campus de Lubumbashi de l’université nationale du Zaïre). The Centre was at the foreground of the then-raging debates about the decolonisation of knowledge and the place of the African intellectual, and the main protagonists included eminent figures such as V. Y. Mudimbe, Georges Ngal and Johannes Fabian. To this day, the questions and controversies that buzzed from that campus into the city at the time still inspire artistic productions and cultural enquiries in Lubumbashi and beyond. For the exhibition component, a blackboard timeline composition was presented as well as excerpts of an ongoing project of video interviews with the first students of the Fine Arts Institute, such as François Amisi.

The Nyanza Working Group presented an artwork from the series of ‘envelopes’– a set of fabric compositions made of graphic and textual arrangements of intellectual histories, friendships, familial relations and institutional ecologies. The Kampala Working Group (UG) presented a ‘word cloud’ issued from the workshop ‘Decolonising artistic education,’ a staff and curriculum development project that took place at the Nagenda International Academy of Arts and Design (NIAAD) between 2015–2017. The Maseru working group also contributed with the Ba Re e Ne Re dictionary, neologisms and word inventions by young Basotho that render concepts and imaginaries that do not exist in English. In the same vein, the Kinshasa Working Group presented Kin Contempo – a lexicon of collected expressions used by Kinshasa artists to transmit various facets of their reality and the challenges to which they are exposed. Finally, from the Johannesburg Working Group: the making of the 40-meter-long interactive “Un/chronological Timeline” was presented in a graphic montage made of photographic documentation and textual compositions that included the 8 previous iterations of the activations of the Timeline.


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