DATE OF ENTRY: Thu 22. Jun 2000 14:28:49
SUBJECT: debate
NAME: Everlyn Nicodemus
I Everlyn Nicodemus notice: BONNEFANTENMUSEUM USES THE OLD COLONIAL TRICK - TO IGNORE. THE CLASSICAL SYMBOLIC RAPE? May 27 I left a note at the Bonnafantenmuseum in Maastricht demanding a text immediately removed from the wall in the room where my works are exhibited within Continental Shift. I have received no information from the museum if it has been carried out. The only reaction: silence! The text began: Collage is probably the most explicite technique to talk back to the discourse of the other. Apart from Olu Oguibe and Barthélémy Togou is Everlyn Nicodemus one of the artists of Continental Shift working in this genre. This is nonsense. My art has nothing whatsoever to do with those two male African artists or with - in relation to my works - such a prejudiced misinterpretation of 'collage'. In spite of my protest: silence! May 29 I wrote to the director of the museum, Alexander van Grevenstein, repeating my protest, making it clear that I considered the unjustified insertion of the two names an intrution into my artistic integrity. Answer: silence! A signed text and a catalogue stands for the author. But an unsigned text on the museum wall, as this one, is the responsibility of the museum. It is finally his responsibility, I explained to Mr van Grevenstein. And it should not been allowed to be put in my exhibition space. Answer: silense! In the signed catalogue essay by freelance curator Marjorie Jongbloed there are misjudgements as well as deliberate distortions of historical truth. Her boosting of the role of Mr Oguibe and Co. and of the magazine NKA in building up a critical discourse on contemporary African art is among the former. Her omission of the most important forum, Third Text, is a serious faux pas. Third Text was there long before NKA. Originally Ms Jonbloed intended to reprint one of my essays from Third Text in the Continental Shift catalogue, so she cannot be unaware of its existence. On these issues, the address of my objections is the author and her incompetent misinterpretations. But I informed Mr van Grevenstein about the background and asked him why specifically those two male artists' names where inserted in the text in my room? Answer: silence! The colonial trick is both racist and sexist. I asked Mr van Grevenstein: is a black African woman artist just there to have her artistic integrity violated? Answer: silence! An usigned text which may be perceived as the museum's guidance can distort the way the public reads the art works if it , as in this case, is misleading. The principal question of what freelance curators may be allowed to put on the walls is nowadays under discussion within the international museum world, as Mr van Grevenstein undoubtedly knows. In a fax June 7, I reminded him that as Continental Shift deals with a category of artists which has for long been overlooked and neglected, namely the diaspora artists from different parts of the world leaving and working in Europe, it is an extra sensitive issue how we the diaspora artists are treated by European institutions and how our artistic integrity is respected. Answer: silence! Three weeks have passed since I first left my note. The arrogance of silence is nothing but contempt. Brussel June 17, 2000 Everlyn Nicodemus artist, writer