NOTABOUTKARENBLIXEN Picture: NotAboutKarenBlixen 2010 Lambda dibon 120 x 83 cm.
From NAKB Performance, Mombasa, Kenya. Participants in Foto: James Muruiki, Gillion Grantsaan, Miriam Syowia Kyambi, Michelle Eistrup and Simora.Instigated by Gillion Grantsaan with NAKB group Courtesy of Oder, Curator, Michelle Eistrup.Too Long Are Our Memories + Borders by Michelle Eistrup and James Muruiki(Kenya)
KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM, Rungstedlund, Denmark, My World Images Festival 2010
Gillion Grantsaan (DK) in cooperation with Ato Malinda (Kenya); Søren Assenholt (DK)in cooperation with Miriam Syowia Kyambi (Kenya); Michelle Eistrup (DK),in cooperation with James Muruiki (Kenya) Stefan Saffer (Germany)
Lesley-Ann Brown (DK) is associated with the project as performance writer.
NotAboutKarenBlixen is a long-term collaborative project between three Kenyan artists, three Danish artists, and a German artist working in various media. For the participating artists, the NotAboutKarenBlixen project has offered a unique opportunity to create works of art which incorporate impulses from Denmark and Kenya. • Working in pairs, the artists started their projects in Denmark at the Danish Art Workshops in snow-covered Denmark in February. The work was continued in Nairobi in June in what was, for the Danish participants, unexpectedly cold Kenyan winter weather. Parts of the projects created by these ‘art-duos’ have been exhibited at the RaMoMa Museum of Modern Art in Nairobi in July 2010.
• The participating artists represent considerable international experience, with exhibition activities in USA, England, Continental Europe and partsof Asia and Africa. • “We hope through collaboration to extend ourselves and to relearn, reevaluate the past in a present context. The collaboration is alsobased on medium and experimentation. The artists had to learn the other’s language, an essential tool for gaining knowledge and understanding of the other.”– explains curator and artist Michelle Eistrup. • The title, NotAboutKarenBlixen, signals that this exhibition is not directly about Karen Blixen. Not-AboutKarenBlixen uses the name of Karen Blixen to inspire reflection on present and future relations between Europe and Africa. It illuminates current and historic issues through contemporary art media and performance. The artists use the collaboration in pairs to explore Karen Blixen´s legacy and its significance in a postcolonial context. • Placing the exhibition project at Rungstedlund in the exhibition rooms and in the front yard of the house where Karen Blixen was born adds a special quality to the project. It links Rungstedlund to the farm at Ngong Hills in Kenya. This year – 125 years after Karen Blixen was born – the focus of the museum is on Africa. • We hope to contribute to a wider understanding of Kenya’s and Denmark´s postcolonial heritage through the artistic process and modern media in art, such as photography, video, sound installation and performance.
MICHELLE EISTRUP + JAMES MURUIKI
MICHELLE EISTRUP + JAMES MURUIKI, Too Long are Memories
Søren Assenholt,We had a writer in Africa
Miriam Syowia Kyambi, Portals I: Houses of the Present Past