Image features: Ishtar | Mia Georgis | UK | *Available online on January 2021
Across the world we are seeing protests calling for equality for all citizens, for a reappraisal of the relationships we have with each other and for the way in which our histories are edited and our heritage presented. These demands are neither new, nor confined to one country. From the removal of historic statues and proposals for new memorials, to demands for educational reform, we are rightly calling into question the connection between the past and the present, interrogating the ways that national identities are crafted.
Contested Desires brings together artists, producers and heritage professionals from countries which were colonised and those who colonised, from the occupiers to the occupied and sometimes both.
Through a programme of residencies and commissions, exhibitions and workshops in Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Barbados and the UK Contested Desires considers how heritage defines identity and the shaping of nation state. Through a programme of contemporary art, it examines inherited narratives and provokes new storytelling from diverse perspectives.
As a first public presentation Contested Desires we are delighted to share with you the work of 6 film and video artists drawn from a global call. Due to be launched at our first exhibition in Lagos in Portugal in March, but now postponed due to Covid-19 we can think of no better time to share the Contested Desires Artist Film and Video Programme.
We hope you are sitting comfortably and enjoy watching this rich, powerful and beautiful programme of short films:
Fin (The End) | Lara Sousa | Mozambique
Laatash (Thirst) | Elena Molina | Spain
Ishtar | Mia Georgis | UK
A Line Was Drawn | Mairead McClean | Ireland
Roots | Hussina Raja | Kashmir
Biographies of Objects | Natalia Skobeeva | Russia
The full programme will be screened in the participating countries as exhibition programmes open to the public, and we hope you will catch them again in 2021 in Lagos, (January) Barcelona (March), Newcastle (May), and Polystipos, Cyprus (August)
Contested Desires 2019-21 is a transnational programme funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. It is a partnership between D6:Culture in Transit (UK), ECCOM, (IT), Xarkis (CY), La Bonne (ES), LAC (PT) and Fresh Milk (BB). With local partners in each country it uses contemporary art to take a critical look at the relationship between our colonial pasts and our culture today.
In parallel to the selection of the nine visual artists, who are collaborating actively in the project, we launched this global film and video call inviting artists who identify as women to submit works showing or questioning the conceptual framework of the project through a critical approach. Led by La Bonne, the video call took place in December 2019 attracting more than 150 proposals, from which the director Lola Mayo and the editor Saudde Cevallos, coordinators of the Laboratori Feminista de Creació Documental at La Bonne, made the first selection.