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Les Archives Suédoises: from a suppressed colonial photographic archive to a collaborative decolonial counter-archive”
University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Department of Fine Art.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3004-2813
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed) [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

The paper will discuss the art project Les Archives Suédoises, which explores a repressed part of Swedish colonial history by re-contextualising and reworking a hidden and dispersed archive consisting of historical glass-plate negatives photographed by Swedish missionaries in the Congo 1890 – 1930.

 

During the second half on the 19th century, an evangelical revival spread in Sweden. The new parishes had a deep concern for missions, and inspired by Stanley’s travels in the Congo the church started sending missionaries, making Sweden one of the main actors in the area. The missionaries brought camera equipment, and the resulting photographs were used for enticing home parishes to donate funds. Missionary lantern-lectures visited chapels, schools and churches up until the sixties. For many Swedes this was their first encounter with Africa, and the images have thus had a profound influence of how Africa was imagined in Sweden. In the Congo DR on the other hand, not many photographs from the historical period remain; the colonizers controlled the technology, and the tropical climate and political turbulence has destroyed what was left. The missionaries were also very much part of a process whereby they documented the existing culture in the places where they settled – then set out to do their best to change, or even destroy it.

 

How can we confront these types of images today, from a Swedish perspective, where there is great reluctance to look at this part of our history, and where heirs of the missionaries tend to control the narrative? And from a Congolese perspective, where the images both bear witness to the suffering of the people living through colonization, and depict village life and traditions? A collaborative artistic enquiry with Congolese artist Freddy Tsimba resulted in a new counter-archive, and a series of site-specific installations in Sweden and the Congo, looking beyond our own context-specific histories and addressing the traumatic memory left in both nations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lisboa, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Art, Archive, Postcolonial processes
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:konstfack:diva-7074OAI: oai:DiVA.org:konstfack-7074DiVA, id: diva2:1374361
Conference
C-IIC 2019 : Counter image International conference, May 6-8 2019, Lisbon, Portugal
Available from: 2019-11-29 Created: 2019-11-29 Last updated: 2019-12-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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