Akeelah Bertram, Anna Carreras and Stelios Kallinikou.
In February - March 2020, CONTESTED DESIRES artists Akeelah Bertram (UK), Anna Carreras (Spain) and Stelios Kallinikou (Cyprus) undertook a month-long residency at the LAC studios in Lagos, Portugal.
This residency followed and responded to ‘Heritage vs. Culture’, the first capacity building workshop of the CONTESTED DESIRES programme hosted at LAC. ‘Heritage vs. Culture’ reflected on the colonial legacies of Lagos and how we, as artists, activists and citizens engage with the past that has created the world in which we live.
LAC is based in Lagos, a town in the Algarve region of southern Portugal that was the entry point into Europe for enslaved people from the African continent from 1444. This colonial history is beginning to enter the public discourse, but remains contested. The recently installed museum dedicated to the role of Lagos in the trade of enslaved people, at the Mercado de Escravos in the town square, sits adjacent to a statue to ‘Henry the Navigator’, who generated enormous wealth for Portugal through the enslavement of African people. Across the residency, the three artists engaged critically with Lagos’ colonial legacies and considered the wider impact of European colonisation on culture today, producing new work in response to their experiences.
Today, we launch three digital commissions created by the resident artists. These commissions - drawing on the artists’ experiences in Lagos - ask how dominant historical legacies and narratives have shaped our identity. They reflect on cultural memory, complexity and the physical traces of the colonial enterprise on the landscape. We invite you to spend time with these commissions, available to view now:
(Dearly) Beloved, Akeelah Bertram.
Rugas da História; Fendas na Paisagem, Anna Carreras.
August sorrow, Stelios Kallinikou.
Artists: Akeelah Bertram, Anna Carreras and Stelios Kallinikou
Curator: Dominic Smith
Image: Bird I, Stelios Kallinikou, 2020