The duality of oppression and decolonization of self
How is it possible to oppose colonial mentality and structural racism in a world structured by inequality, expectation, and oppressive power relationships? How can one resist all of these when one is in a minority position abroad as well as in opposition to the government, majority, political and cultural hegemonies in one’s home nation? How can one deal with these issues in one’s art, writing and life choices? How do you criticize without upholding stereotypes and established structures? And can you as an artist really liberate and decolonize yourself and your art?
Rasoul Nejadmehr is an independent researcher with a main interest in issues of cultural and educational foundations and policies. His concern is how legacies of the past are at work in the present and govern current educational and cultural policies.
He has published books and essays in English, Persian and Swedish. His latest book is Kantian Genesis of the Problem of Scientific Education (Routledge; 2020), where he addresses the key role played by Kant and Kantianism in establishing a Eurocentric rational notion of humanity. The book also reveals genealogical continuities between Kantianism and neoliberal rationality of the all-embracing market of today.
It discusses several strategies for resistance against the imperial rationality based on decolonial and postcolonial perspectives and suggests basic principles for a shift of paradigm in education, including shifts in our understanding of the notions of criticism, freedom, the universal, art and the human being.
Aaiún Nin is a non-binary person, born in Angola, writing poetry, creating mixed media art, and engaged in activism. Through their work, they explore and confront issues of race, gender and sexual discrimination, as well as LGBT+ experience. Their first poetry collection, Broken Halves of a Milky Sun was published in 2022 in the USA.
Nin’s poetry draws upon the experience of childhood and youth spent in a patriarchal society and is strongly rooted in the context of postcolonial Africa. In their poems they often refer to the present situation in Angola, addressing problems of sexual violence inflicted on women, religious fundamentalism and the contradictions of Catholic doctrine, social inequalities and racism.
Since moving to Denmark in 2016, they have worked in collaboration with artists identifying with queer culture and have been an outspoken voice regarding the legal discrimination of immigrants and police violence in Scandinavian countries. Their articles and poems have been published in Information, Untold Pages, Kritiker, Friktion Magasin, Forfatternes Klimaaksjon and hvermandag.dk. Nin has performed at numerous literary festivals, such as Oslo International Poetry Festival, Sound + Literature in Aarhus, and Louisiana Literature Festival in Denmark. The leading Danish newspaper, Politiken, called Nin a “great, rare talent in Danish literature.”
They currently live in Krakow, staying in Villa Decius as part of the ICORN Residency Program.
Håkon Mathias Vassvik works as an actor and a director. He is educated at Akademi for Scenekunst, in Fredrikstad. And runs his own company, Koie, where he produces plays around themes like sami identity, ecology and sense of belonging.
He has also been a part of a number of productions by Verk productions, and has together with Verk, received two Hedda-price nominations for play of the year (2011 and 2013). He is also a member of the Norwegian Art Council’s advisory board on performing arts.
Celina Jerman Bright Taylor will lead the conversion. She has a background in international relations and international law. She has studied and worked with human rights issues in several countries, but has in the last years been working in civil society organizations in Norway. She has been especially involved in the work with corporate social responsibility. She was until recently the leader of the human rights organization FIVAS, and currently works as an advisor at Safemuse- Safe Havens for Artists.