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Yto Barrada opens exhibition cycle on colonial legacy in Gulbenkian

An exhibition by the French-Moroccan artist Yto Barrada, which crosses the work of the French ethnologist Thérèse Rivière (1901-1970) with personal narratives, opens to the public on February 8 at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

According to the organization, “Moi je suis la langue et vous êtes les dents”, is the title of the exhibition, taken from an excerpt from one of the notebooks of Thérèse Rivière , who, between 1934 and 1936, studied the Berber people Chaouias in the mountains of Aurès, Algeria.

Yto Barrada presents a set of works that explore and pursue his interest in the ethnologist, retrieving notebooks, drawings and photographs he produced, as well as the collection of objects he collected, forgotten and “silenced” in time, according to a Gulbenkian press release.

To this plot, the artist intertwines narratives of her own family, weaving new relationships where the threads of personal and collective memories intersect.

The work of Yto Barrada “takes shape in a constant round trip through the times, places and artefacts of history, in a process of work that begins many times in the collection of stories and objects that together form a poetic dialect”, according to the Gulbenkian.

In 2015, the artist had her debut in Portugal, in Porto, at Casa de Serralves, transformed into a “museum of modern and natural history“, with the exhibition “Salon Marocain“.

Born in Paris in 1971, but living between the French capital and Tangier, Yto Barrada studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York.

Yto Barrada won the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year Award in 2011, which led to the “RIFFS” exhibition on tour and was also honoured by the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography and the Abraaj Prize.

He has exhibited at MoMA (San Francisco and New York), Barbican Center (London), Jeu de Paume and Center Georges Pompidou (Paris), and Venice Biennial (2007 and 2011).

This exhibition, curated by Rita Fabiana, opens a cycle with three artists from different geographies that will mark the 2019 program of the Project Space of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, with works anchored in the history and legacy of colonialism and in the processes of decolonization of narratives, of knowledge, and of imagination.

The following are the exhibitions of the Portuguese Filipa César (May 31 to September 2, 2019), on gentrification in the Bijagós Islands, and Cape Verdean Irineu Destourelles (September 27, 2019 to January 6, 2020), which reflects of its own diaspora condition, and of its social experiences in urban space, from cities such as Lisbon, Mindelo and London.

Parallelly, and in conjunction with the programming of the Project Space, an international conference entitled “Where I Stand” will take place on 27 and 28 September in the Polivalente room.

The aim is to speak of a place that is simultaneously geographic, historical, cultural, political and mental, with contributions that bring to the debate the colonial legacy, and the new emancipatory narratives, namely that of black feminism.

In March, between 13 and 16, there will be an “Amerindian Show“, with a cycle of debates and indigenous cinema in Brazil, organized in collaboration with DocLisboa and the Faculty of Social Sciences of the New University of Lisbon.

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