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If My Grandmothers Were Historians

Some cultures believe that if an object is not touched/used it looses all its power and its potential for becoming. Taking objects from their spaces of functionality, bringing to other countries and contexts, spraying Arsenic to kill all possible bugs and bacteria that they might carry and making them impossible to be touched by human beings reinforces how European institutions and Museums are still involved in a play of power, in which knowledge is overshadowed by old and tired practices of “preserving” objects.

Carvalho borrowed 60 statues from a Market in Yaoundé. Three grandmothers and him were involved in giving actions to those wooden statues. They used them together, gave new meaning based on their beliefs systems and personal stories. Through actions and storytellings they created and shared different angles to look at them and different stories to embed on them. In the end of the 3h performance all 60 objects came back to the market from where they were borrowed. Maybe they came back different, maybe the grandmothers went home different, maybe Carvalho came back different to Berlin.

If My Grandmothers Were Historians was a performance presented at RAVY Biennial, Yaoundé, Cameroon, curated by Serge Olivier Fokoua and Landry Mbassi

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