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The Roots of Our Hands, Deep as Revolt: Entangled Colonialities of the Green

An Installation: Challenging the Colonial Narratives of Nature and Culture


What does it mean to be green in a world that has been shaped by colonialism and capitalism? How can we rethink our relationship with nature and each other in the face of ecological crisis and social injustice? How can we reclaim and celebrate the diverse and sustainable ways of living that have been erased or marginalized by the dominant narratives of progress and development?


These are some of the questions that animate the exhibition "The Roots of Our Hands, Deep as Revolt: Entangled Colonialities of the Green''. As a research project initiated by Nyabinghi Lab, a collective of artists, activists and scholars who are based in Dakar, Senegal, the project aims to decolonize the imaginary of modern ecology, by highlighting the African perspectives and knowledge in the field of environmentalism, cohabitation and management of natural resources.


Photo Credit: Jean Baptiste Joire

The exhibition, which opened at KENU - LAB 'Oratoire des Imaginaires in Dakar transforms the space into a sacred wood, resembling the places of initiatory transmission in Africa. It invites the visitors to revisit the links between humans and the other inhabitants of the earth, and to relearn to listen to the lessons of possibilities that they convey to us.


Curated by Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro and Tmnit Zere, the exhibition features works by artists who explore different aspects of the entangled colonialities of the green, they include:


Takkamtiku (The Art of Enjoying African Flavors) by Fatou Kandé Senghor, a multimedia installation that celebrates the culinary traditions and practices of Senegal and other African countries, and how they reflect a respect for nature and a sense of community.


Xam-Xamu-Makh (Termite Knowledge) by Ndèye Fatou Thiam aka Bigué Bobo, a video installation that documents the life cycle and social organization of termites, and how they inspire alternative models of coexistence and resilience. I-Saas (The Tree of Life) by Oumar Sall aka Oum'Artista, a series of paintings that depict various species of trees that have spiritual, medicinal and ecological significance in African cultures, and how they are threatened by deforestation and climate change. The Ecologies of Sound by Selly Raby Kane, a sound installation that explores the sonic landscapes and vibrations of nature, and how they connect us to our ancestral memories and histories. The Guardians of the Temple by Awa Caba aka Awa Minka, a textile installation that honors the women who protect and preserve the natural resources and sacred sites in their communities, and who resist the exploitation and destruction caused by extractivism and neo-colonialism.


The exhibition also includes a series of workshops, talks and performances that engage with the themes and issues raised by the artists. As part of an 18-month long research project that will culminate in a publication and a symposium in Berlin in 2024, the project is co-produced by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Nyabinghi Lab, KENU - LAB 'Oratoire des Imaginaires and Chimurenga. It is funded by the TURN2 Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.


Photo Credit: Jean Baptiste Joire

Against the Grain is an exhibition that celebrates the power and diversity of photography as a medium of expression and resistance. It also highlights the connections and influences among photographers from different contexts and generations, who share a common vision of documenting and challenging their social realities.


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The Roots of Our Hands, Deep as Revolt: Entangled Colonialities of the Green

January 14, 2023

Fredrick Favour

3 min read

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