Our guest Freddy Tsimba has been invited by Anna Ekman and Cecilia Järdemar
Together they will be presenting their ongoing project at Centrum för Fotografi
about the project:
Les archives suédoises – Part 1. The opening
A work –in-progress exhibition with Anna Ekman, Cecilia Järdemar and Freddy Tsimba
A project initiated by artists Anna Ekman and Cecilia Järdemar around an archive of historical glass-plate negatives from the Swedish Mission fields in the Congo 1890-1930. In collaboration with Congolese sculptor Freddy Tsimba they investigate how creating new works based on the archive can engender alternative histories.
Opening Thursday 9th of March between 17 – 20 at CFF, Centrum för fotografi, Tjärhovsgatan 44, Stockholm
Inspired by Stanley’s travels in the Congo delta, Svenska Missionskyrkan started sending missionaries to the area in the 1880’s, and Sweden was soon one of the biggest operators there. The opening of the missionary fields coincided with the rapid spread of photographic techniques, and the camera’s ability to meet, collect and construct the world was soon intrinsically linked with colonialism and the Christian missions. The photographic documentation soon became an important medium for enticing the home parishes to donate and collect funds for the missionary stations. Missionary lectures and mobile museums showing a selection of images visited chapels, schools and churches up until the early sixties, and many people still have clear memories of the stories and images that were shown.
Ekman and Järdemar have been able to borrow boxes of glass-plate negatives depicting the Congo, both from the archive of Svenska Missionskyrkan and from heirs to the missionary-photographers, some of which have never been printed or catalogued before. The material is interesting both from a historical and a photographic viewpoint, and as an important but rarely discussed part of the history of both the Congo and Sweden. The missionaries were also very much part of a process whereby they documented the existing culture in the places where they settled down – then set out to do their very best to change, or even destroy it, as part of the Christianisation. How can we confront these types of images today, from a Swedish perspective, and from a Congolese perspective? How can historical images be repositioned and repurposed? What alternative meanings and readings can emerge by creating new artworks taking the archive as a starting point? Through a contemporary re-imagining of the archive the meanings of the photographs can be questioned, and a space for negotiation and multiple perspectives can be created.
The project will also result in a book and several exhibitions in Sweden and Congo DR during 2017 – 201
Tuesday the 28th of March at 18.30 a seminar will be held with Maria Lantz, vice-chancellor at Konstfack, Stefan Helgesson, writer and critic, Beatrice Kindembe from Afrosvenskarnas Riksförbund, Freddy Tsimba, artist and Anna Ekman and Cecilia Järdemar at NFK – Nordic Arts Associations guest studio Malongen at Nytorget 15A, Stockholm.