What We Forget

In its present identity crisis, Europe seems to forget its past. Questions about who is or can be European have become increasingly urgent. Mounting anxieties about culture and identity produce strong narratives of a Europe in peril, whose people are threatened by an imagined influx of racialised and culturalised others. Such narratives hinge on a denial of Europe’s histories of colonisation and decolonisation.

Artists Alana Jelinek, Rajkamal Kahlon, Servet Kocyigit, and Randa Maroufi challenge this dominant representation of (post)colonial Europe in the exhibition What we Forget in Nieuw Dakota. Revealing the ongoing legacies of colonialism in Europe and other parts of the world and the long histories of migration entangled with it, these artists explore how these unfinished histories shape contemporary Europe. They trace the often invisible ways in which Europe’s colonial projects impact contemporary global economic structures, the unequal distribution of resources, border securitisation and controls, and restrictions of movement on some groups of people. Together they explore the intimate and abstract ways in which colonialism continues to impact those people made most precarious by it, while demanding more critical consideration of the central role that colonialism has played and continues to play in the making of Europe.

Lora Sariaslan, Wayne Modest, and Chiara de Cesari en stagiairs Kiko Aebi and Anna Sejbæk Torp-Pedersen

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