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Collective performance ‘Declaration of Independence’


Collective performance ‘Declaration of Independence’




Bergen Kunsthall


Bergen (NO)


Barby Asante


Link to event

Bergen Kunsthall’s commission is a collective performance ‘Declaration of Independence’, directed by Barby Asante, presented on 18 January. The performance is based on a workshop for women of colour, that took place from 30 November 2019 to 1 December 2019.

Bergen Kunsthall invited London-based artist Barby Asante to develop and convene a workshop for women of colour during Sandra Mujinga’s exhibition ‘SONW – Shadow of New Worlds’. The workshop continues Asante’s ongoing artistic research ‘As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence’ and explores the social, cultural and political agency of women of colour, as they navigate historic legacies of colonialism, independence, migration and the contemporary global sociopolitical climate.

In a 2-days workshop at Bergen Kunsthall, participants were invited to discuss and explore historic spaces, personal archives and collections and to co-create a space for conversation, collective thinking, ritual and re-enactment. The workshop resulted in a collective performance. Barby Asante is a London based artist, curator, and educator. Her collaborative, performative and dialogic works are concerned with the politics of place, space, identity and the histories and legacies of colonialism.


What is independence and interdependence? How does the political affect the personal? What impact do historical declarations have on our lives? How do women´s stories exist and how they are made visible?

The performance explores ideas of independence and storytelling and invites us into a space for collective thinking, social ritual and re-enactment, blending together grief and celebration. Bringing together women of colour and their stories, the performance is based on a two days intensive workshop convened by Barby in Bergen in December 2019. With Barby Asante and Foluke Taylor:
Alma, Anine Bråten, Atusa, Cynthia Njoki Kangethe, Davone J. Sirmans, Daniela, Ramos Arias, Eliyah Mesayer, Martha Lucia Stove, Mechu Rapela, Nayara Leite, Rabz Lansiquot, Rania Farah Sheikh Ibrahim , Sheila F. Kassim, Stina Amankwah, Shelmith Mwenesi Øseth.

Thank you to Edyta Gudbrandsen and Empo-group, Emma Wolukau-Wanamba, and Claudine Carine Ndayisaba.

The project continues Barby Asante’s ongoing artistic research “As Always a Painful Declaration of Independence”, exploring social, cultural and political agencies of women of colour, navigating historic legacies of colonialism, independence, migration and the contemporary global socio-political climate.

Declaration of Independence started in 2017 at the Diaspora Pavilion in Venice and is dedicated to Khadija Saye, Mary Mende and Dina Aba Kwansema Edwin Baiden. Declaration of Independence has been created and recreated at Feminist Emergencies, Birkbeck, University of London, Body Politics, Tropenmusem, Amsterdam, The Library of Performing Rights, LADA, London, Tricksters Brewing Futures II, Tate Exchange/198, London, Relating Narratives, Horse Hospital, London, Art 50, BALTIC, Gateshead and Propositions #10: Instituting Otherwise, BAK, basis Voor actuele kunst, Utrecht.

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