By: Ian Mwesiga
As the African continent continues to seek to re-write its history and curve its own path from the colonial period, we must be responsible for shaping our own culture and plan our future today, it’s not just an affair singing liberation songs. Asiko has given me an opportunity to engage with colleagues from across the continent in conversations, a professional network and to share knowledge and experiences.
This phenomenal experience has been built in the last 3 weeks as I have been moving up and about the streets of Maputo. One day, Gadi a young curator from Tanzania and I decided to find out the whereabouts of the neighbourhood, we resort to do the legendary “footsubishi”. Sniffing the smell of fish and cold breeze, fascinated by the sights, sounds and the peoples of this beautiful city, my mind is blown away as I attempt to make sense of everything. Perhaps it’s too much to absorb from all the corners, streets and major landmarks of the city in one day.
This being my first trip to the south, I have observed the Old Portuguese architecture which adds a nostalgic essence to a modern city. However I can see a perpetual historical suicide being committed with a wave of demolishing old buildings and replacing them with modern architecture as if it’s a purposed erasure and erosion of history.
I have also been reminded of the need to learn Portuguese, otherwise I will continue to improvise with a gamble of sign language to communicate with the local people. My time investment in learning English seem so little in light of all the languages spoken, which I believe is as a result of growing up in post-independent Uganda where English is held as an international language, I now realize that my local language is more international since I can hear traces of it in local native languages in other parts of Africa I have traveled to.
So far my highlight of the workshop is a series of readings by Walter Mignolo, ‘Coloniality the darker side of modernity’, Richard Appignanesi ‘Beyond cultural diversity’, Terry Smith ‘Contemporary art and contemporaneity’ and Anton Vidokle ‘Art without artists’. And more readings still yet to come…. Each of these reading opens up my mind to new realities, and provokes a deep reflection of my daily existence.
Meeting with a group of other young enthusiastic Artists and curators from a cross Africa here in Maputo is a privilege. It is with immense gratitude that I want to thank everyone who contributed generously to my participation on this prestigious program; CCA Lagos, The African Arts Trust, Prince Clause fund, 32°East Ugandan Arts Trust, friends and colleagues. Thank you for trusting and believing in my practice and I have no doubt in my mind that I have benefited fully from this wonderful experience.
ALUTA CONTINUA! The struggle continues….