2017 is the centenary of Denmark’s sale of the Caribbean Islands St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John to the US. For 250 years these islands were exploited as a profitable sugar industry, based on slave labour. Three quarters of the islands’ population today are the descendants of slaves and the structural and mental imprints of colonialism are still evident.
Architectural details and street names bear witness to the Danish presence on the islands. Conversely colonialism helped to finance the Danish state and the construction of many of the historic buildings in Copenhagen. Our ownership of the islands influenced the development of Denmark both economically and structurally. But what about the mental imprints left on us by colonialism? Is an awareness of this part of our past only upheld through a sense of history or does it also influence our understanding of ourselves?
Unravelings is an exhibition of both national and international art that will slowly take form, develop and expand through different stages over the five-month long exhibition period.
The first phase of the exhibition is centred around Hvid[mə] Archive, which consists of excerpts from text and works of art or literature dealing with colonial history, art and culture, philosophy, queer theory, decolonialism and more. Hvid[mə] Archive is a many-stranded project, displaying the institutional power and violence of the white colour and the selective national memory that permeates historical writings about Denmark as a Nordic colonial power. At meter the Hvid[mə] Archive will be installed in a space of its own. During the exhibition different events will present the archive and the many perspectives within it.
Unravelings is an exhibition that can be perceived as a physical materialisation and critical expansion of viewpoints within Hvid[mə] Archive. It opened on Thursday January 5th where it was also possible to experience the artwork Chromophobia fig.1 by artist Annarosa Krøyer Holm. This artwork and the performance I tråd med tiden by Jessie Kleemann showing on Friday January 6th marked the first stages of the exhibition. On January 20th we opened the next stage of the exhibition with artworks by artists: La Vaughn Belle, Javier Tapia, Trine Mee Sook Gleerup, Nanna Debois Buhl and Julie Edel Hardenberg.
As a part of the exhibition we also want to look towards a possible future by screening Kapwani Kiwanga’s film Sun Ra Repatriation Project. The film follows her attempt to return the legendary jazz Musician Sun Ra’s remains to their original home: Saturn. Find screening schedule here.