Rough Trade Panel Discussion

4 February 2017

Talk with Imani Tafari-Ama, curator at the Flensburger Schifffahrtsmuseum; Astrid Nonbo Andersen, Researcher at DIIS Danish Institute of International Studies; Jeannette Ehlers, artist; and Tina Helen, artist. Moderated by the curator of the Rough Trade exhibition, Earl Miller.

The Rough Trade panel discussion centers on the discursive conditions framing trans/cross-cultural art. It stresses the current global-political climate of migration and the growing responses of intolerance towards it. Informing these responses are the historic backdrops of lingering colonial histories, like those of Canada and Denmark that perpetuate hegemonies of race, culture, and labour oppression.

Panelists will be addressing how such colonial histories are embodied or rising in trans/cross-cultural art. With special focus, the panel will reflect on questions proposed by the exhibition Rough Trade at SixtyEight Art Institute, such as its thematic use of the switching between a range of dominant normative roles and marginalized ones, maybe suggesting new alternatives to the current power structures. The panel will also expand its questions into how activism and academic discourse can intersect with art which engages with colonialism, racism, and migration politics. Operating in this wider context, the panel comments on the recent Right-wing turn in Western politics, and the refugee crisis with its metastatic anti-immigrant sentiment. It asks how art, activism, and academia can maintain a decolonizing practice in such times, especially since these fields face what seems an endless barrage of targeted accusations, such as “political correctness” and other pejoratives.

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