Foto aus Performance von Philip Metz
Performance in former German fort Groß Friedrichsburg in Ghana from the project Adler Afrika by Philip Kojo Metz, 2012–2014 (c) Philip Metz

Challenges in Remembering German South West Africa

Plural Artistic Positions
PhD Project by Fabian Lehmann

At least for the last two decades visual arts deal with the topic of memory and offer another approach in addition to the discourses in historical studies. Today prominent representatives of the research on memory like Aleida Assmann state that art as a subjective approach can add alternative readings and therefore enrich our memory of historical events. This strategy is especially interesting when it comes to the memory of the German colonies in Africa (1884 to 1919) – today a nearly forgotten period in German history.

In my research I interpret contemporary visual artworks by artists from Africa and Europe that address the remembrance of German South West Africa (today Namibia). In what way do these performances, video works, paintings or graphics deal with the memory of this specific time in German history? Do they allow for plural perspectives and diverse ways of interpretation, without denying the complexity of the historic events?

Foto aus The African Twin Towers
The African Twin Towers by Christoph Schlingensief, 2005 (c) Aino Laberenz / Filmgalerie451