Love and intimacy in a postcolonial era

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Part of the Afroeuropean conference 2022

curated by Anne Wetsi MPOMA.

Works by Iyallola Iffy Tillieu.

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Curator's statement

One of the problems of living as a racialised human being in a white society is the impossibility of being seen as we see ourselves and/or as we are: beautiful, intelligent, able to add value to society, competent for high-profile jobs and not restricted to menial sectors. In our dreams, we see ourselves shining, living harmoniously, enjoying fulfilling and caring family relationships. And in many cases, this is even a reality. Yet we dt find these images in our surroundings. In the media and in marketing, black men in particular are presumed to be incompetent at providing for their families and behaving in a caring manner. Even though in Europe, unlike in the United States, the black man is not perceived as extremely dangerous or violent, the idea of his inability to behave as a good father is still quite widespread, and the “not-mixed” black family is perceived in a negative way, as heralding a lack of willingness to integrate, a declaration of war on the values of civilisation and modernity of white society. As a result, there are very few images of joyful or intimate scenes between racialised people. In a desire to deconstruct the stereotypes that weigh on black people and to act on representations, I proposed to the artist Iyallola Iffy Tillieu (she/they) to develop this theme in her painting. Working at the intersection of queerness and normativeness, they show people living different types of relationship (brotherhood/sisterhood, parenting, love, etc) interacting with one another. The aim of her work is not to deny that there is a form of relational violence among populations who have lived through slavery and colonisation for several centuries, but rather to finally give positive images of these human lives a chance to circulate. It is a way of reappropriating the discourse on and the image of oneself.

Anne-Wetsi Mpoma, Wetsi Art Gallery