236 Pender St East,
Colin Campbell, production still from the video Shango Botanica, 1977. Courtesy of Vtape, Toronto.
Until 28 January 2023
07 September–26 November 2022
T. +1 604.683.7395
19 May–24 June, 2018
Curated by: Elena Agudio, Denise Ryner, and Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung
Whose Land Have I Lit on Now?
With Abbas Akhavan, Meriç Algün, Mounira Al Solh, Steeve Bauras, Deanna Bowen, Banu Cennetoğlu, Stephanie Comilang, Victor Ehikhamenor, Antje Engelmann, Louis Henderson, Eva Leitolf, Doris Maninger, Sabelo Mlangeni, Emeka Okereke, Neda Saeedi, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ming Wong, and Tinofireyi Zhou.
“Man of misery, whose land have I lit on now?
What are they here—violent, savage, lawless?
or friendly to strangers, god-fearing people?”
– Odysseus upon his return to Ithaca: Homer, The Odyssey, Book 6:131.
“now that our soil has become co-conspirator
eating up our dreams and dusty tears
bearing the fruit of our horrors
in orange navels
rooting us yet stronger
firmer to our ancestors’ bones
when did stones
become the comrades of sunken boys
who utilize rubber bullets and empty shells
– Suheir Hammad, children of stone: Born Palestinian, Born Black (Brooklyn, New York: UpSet Press, 2010), 43.
WHOSE LAND HAVE I LIT ON NOW? is conceived across interrelated “spaces of contemplation” which will be activated and animated through an exhibition and a weekend of invocations including performances, concerts, lectures and talks:
I GUEST, I HOST. WHO IS THE GHOST? explores power gradients between host, guest and becoming ghost—the zombifying transformation process between guest and host, as well as the violences implicated in these transitions through looking at settler colonialist projects and their perverting of who is “guest” and who is “host.”
FORGING A BRIDGE: FROM “WIR SCHAFFEN DAS” TO “DAS BOOT IST VOLL” probes the gradual shift of hospitality towards hostility. Unpacking the breakdown of the German “Willkommenskultur” after the arrival of mostly Syrian migrants in Germany in the summer of 2015, we observe how the summer of grace became the autumn of rage and the winter of nightmares, as the initial goodwill turned into the resurgence of the extreme right in Germany.
CARESSING THE PHANTOM LIMB: “HEIMAT” – PROGRESSION, REGRESSION, STAGNATION? looks at the power of the notion of Heimat that has come to characterize privileges and the common denominators of those who are viewed by the majority as eligible to partake in the privileges. “Heimat” could be the sum of our singular beings, cultures, religions and philosophies. “Heimat” could be inclusive and unifying—sensitive to the historical, political and economical realities that have made people move forcefully or willingly. Isn’t the current state of Heimat rather regressive and a mere caressing of a phantom limb?
RIDING THE TIDE: ON HOSTIPICAPITALISM revisits the notion of hospitality in neoliberal capitalism, which has successfully transformed hospitality from virtue into ubiquitous commodity.
This project looks at micro-level to broader entanglements – including SAVVY Contemporary’s home, role and presence in its space in Wedding as host to artists and other collaborators, as well as guests within the context of our neighborhood, to the possibilities of moments of unconditional hospitality and the nation state’s strategies of hostility towards its weakest citizens and the newly arrived. This examination will also encompass narratives emerging from the legacies of, and resistance to, settler imaginaries and Or Gallery’s presence on First Nations territories in North America.
Artistic Director: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung
Curators: Elena Agudio and Denise Ryner
Curatorial assistance: Raisa Galofre
Project management: Lema Sikod
Project assistance: Cornelia Knoll, António Mendes, Lili Somogyi
Communication: Anna Jäger and Marleen Boschen
Graphic design: Elsa Westreicher
Publication: SAVVY Publishing and Archive Books, edited by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Elena Agudio and Federica Bueti
Whose Land Have I Lit on Now? is a project within the framework of 4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture, a collaborative project that investigates conflict and models for intercultural dialogue co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and with support from the Canadian Embassy in Berlin. 4Cs was developed amongst the following partners: Faculdade de Ciências Humanas Universidade Católica Portuguesa FCH|UCP (PT), Tensta Konsthall (SE), SAVVY Contemporary (DE), Royal College of Art (UK), Fundació Antoni Tàpies (ES), Vilnius Academy of Arts (LT), Museet for Samtidskunst (DK) and ENSAD (FR).
Image: Deanna Bowen, Installation of “1911 Anti Creek-Negro Petition” from _Immigration of Negroes from the United States to Western Canada 1910-1911_, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. Photo: Robert McNair.