Saturday 15th December 2018,
asikoartschool

Maputo; time and physical space.

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By Rose Jepkorir Untitled1Photo: Immaculate Mali

Two weeks ago, the people of Mozambique celebrated 40 years since they attained a state of independence. In commemoration, we spent the day with Rafael Mouzinho, a Mozambican artist and curator who journeyed us through the liberation route for the historical political autonomy in Southern African States. This route begins at Centro de Estudos Africanos hosted at Eduardo Mondlane University, we followed on to the cenotaph in Matola built to honour the memory of the South African and Portuguese who were murdered, the ANC safe houses in Matola that were bombed by South Africa Apartheid government and finally the cemetery where these heroes and heroines were laid to rest.

But why do we commemorate? Year after year with an accumulating sense of value, symbolism and positions that are highly contested. Is the intention to create or to control the past? What is our collective public memory like? Is it shaped by the changing needs of the present? I wonder what it means for each of us, to tell our own story.

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Photo: David Daut

In this city, I have also observed men and women, made up and sharp, they will greet you with a smile, a firm handshake and probably fixate on the fact that you do not speak Portuguese. The background against which these people exists suggests an enriched new culture, the different Places that they have come from, things they carry along with them, their reflections and reactions over time. However, a truer position demands a Second Look!

Untitled3Photo: Erin Rice

These last two weeks at Asiko has brought me to this Place, to have a second look at the positions we assume, either self-imposed or otherwise. Through a series of presentations, I have observed the omissions we make in telling our own stories and in representing other people’s stories. Perhaps the details we exclude are not of value, or so we think. In contrary, these omissions make the story, they are the coordinates that map our history, the places we may need to re-visit in writing our stories tomorrow.

In this place and time, I am looking forward to understand the connections in our history, what fulfils artists most and journey with the hope to discover an edition, a conspiracy or a great illumination.

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