“Which came first: the desire to fly, or the desire to see oneself at a distance?”– Suneil Sanzgiri, At Home But Not At Home (2019)
In a trilogy of short films shown in a new installation, Suneil Sanzgiri probes the intersection between his family’s history in Goa, India, and stories of global solidarity, freedom fighters, and neocolonial extractive forces. Kapwani Kiwanga locates botanical elements in the photographic and video records of independence ceremonies, treaty signings, and the official events in newly independent African nations. She has invited designers Tu Le of 328North (Williamstown, MA) and Steffany Trần of Vy Voi Studio (New York, NY) to study and recreate these arrangements, which will dry and wither over the course of the exhibition. Hương Ngô will exhibit new works on paper investigating Marxist writings attributed to the Vietnamese anti-colonial organizer Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai and asking how feminist struggles, sitting at the intersections of patriarchy and colonial surveillance, have been effaced and deferred for the sake of national narratives. And in an investigation of what she calls “digital colonialism,” Maryam Jafri’s two installations examine how archival photographs from key moments in the histories of certain African and Middle Eastern nations have been acquired and edited by multinational stock photo agencies, suggesting that some archives obscure as much as they reveal.
to see oneself at a distance is made possible by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in support of MASS MoCA and the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
Special thanks to: University of Santa Barbara Art Department; Zó Project, Hanoi; CMM Framing, Chicago; Williams College Departments of Asian Studies and of American Studies, and Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Tu Le, 328North, Williamstown; Steffany Trần, Vy Voi Studio, New York.
Letter From Your Far-Off Country, 16mm to 2k video, 2020, 17 min.
Still courtesy of the artist