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Demythologize That History and Put it to Rest

Demythologize That History and Put it to Rest aimed to challenge the idea of remembrance formed by statues, monuments, street names and other Eurocentric colonial memorials and sites of remembrance in Lisbon and Berlin’s public spaces. Lacking a present contextualization these objects continue to overshadow the perspective and histories of African communities and their epistemological systems and commemorate a romanticized Eurocentric history. The expense thereof being the oppression of Black Africans. The project created and presented artistic interventions in Lisbon and Berlin’s public spaces. The aim was to demythologize the narratives around these monuments and their influence on the various aspects of public remembering and forgetting, and to counter the ways they have been shaping our present thinking, experience and imagination.

Inspired by Edouard Glissant’s assertion that history and its formation should not be left to historians alone, the artist Marcio Carvalho invited fellow artists from Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, Iraq, Mozambique and Portugal to present live performances and public discussions to counter-monumentalize these crystalized objects, to demythologize their hegemonic, western narratives and to search for other memories and other narratives. The 9 artists focus on the monuments of two historical personalities who exerted huge influences on the colonization of Africa by the European powers during the so-called Congo Conference (1884/85 in Berlin - Otto von Bismarck (Tiergarten, Berlin) and King Charles I (Palacio da Ajuda, Lisbon). Demythologize that History and Put it to Rest was an art project by Marcio Carvalho in collaboration with the art space SAVVY Contemporary and its archive project Colonial Neighbours, with Gabinete de Estudos Olisiponenses and Hangar – Centro de Investigação Artística. The project was supported by Berlin Senat for European culture, Goethe Institute Coproduction fund and Pro Helvetia.

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