The formal processes of decolonisation – completed throughout the 20th century- resolved in the geopolitical liberation of the colonised states, yet, the notion of decolonisation goes far beyond the fight for national independence. Colonisation itself has continued to affect the social as well as political structures of the contemporary society we currently live in, revealing its deeply rooted causes in the expression of practices across the board.
Visual arts - and more broadly - visual cultures, became a significant space for the perpetuation and challenging of colonisation ideals. From issues of representation within images, advertising, and more broadly the media, to the systemic problems of institutions and public spaces whose power has been established during imperialist times (and the consequential responsibility it involves). And with these continuous fights for reform, the necessity to deconstruct Western hegemonic values has become a pivotal step for visual cultures.
In recent years curatorial and artistic practices and cultural theories have been at the forefront of the debate for decolonial aesthetics; contemporary artists, curators, and theorists are reconsidering their practices in order to reveal and subvert a systemic colonial structure.
In light of the exhibition ‘Decolonial Desire’ of Portuguese multimedia artist Vasco Araújo, Autograph ABP has invited author and filmmaker Alanna Lockward and artist, activist and writer Sunil Gupta to elaborate and comment, together with Mark Sealy (curator and director of Autograph ABP), on current decolonial practices of visual cultures, and how these are effectively contributing to a broader political and intellectual agenda.