Grada Kilomba, "Remembering is a necessary ceremony"

Saturday, October 2, 2021, 12 - 1:30pm

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Grada Kilomba

Grada Kilomba gives a free online lecture as part of the Fall 2021 Intra-Disciplinary Seminar series that will reflect on how her work is a ground for dwelling in collective trauma, revisiting the past and rebuilding the future. Kilomba will talk about some of the pieces in her first solo exhibition in the US, “Heroines, Birds and Monsters” and her latest work, “O Barco | The Boat”, a large-scale installation, performance and film and how it carefully draws the archeology of memory. Kilomba interrupts the collective imaginary with her work. The themes of forgetting, erasure, violence and representation are explored in a process of remembering and rewriting. As the artist states, “retelling history anew and properly is a necessary ceremony, a political act. Otherwise, history becomes haunted. It repeats itself. It returns intrusively, as fragmented knowledge, interrupting and assaulting our present lives.”

Registration required.

Grada Kilomba is an interdisciplinary artist whose work draws on memory, trauma, gender and post-colonialism, interrogating concepts of knowledge, power and violence. “What stories are told? How are they told? And told by whom?” are constant questions in Kilomba’s body of work, to revise postcolonial narratives. Kilomba is best known for her unique practice of storytelling, in which she gives body, voice and form to her own texts, using performance, staged reading, video, photography, publications and installation. Her work has been presented in major international events such as: La Biennale de Lubumbashi VI; 10. Berlin Biennale; Documenta 14, Kassel; 32. Bienal de São Paulo.

The IDS public lecture series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding from the Robert Lehman Foundation. The IDS public lecture series is also made possible by generous support from the Open Society Foundations.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

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  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.