‘Ovizire ∙ Somgu: From Where Do We Speak?’ is an exhibition of artwork focusing on the complexities of German-Namibian entangled histories. Drawing from its title ‘Ovizire’, a word from the Otjiherero language, and ‘Somgu’ in Khoekhoegowab, which in everyday use can be translated to mean ‘shadow’ or ‘aura’, this cross-disciplinary exhibition proposes a critical reading of the colonial photographic archive through its gaps and shadows.

At its centre, ‘Ovizire ∙ Somgu’ interrogates colonial representations, the colonial gaze and legacies of power embedded in the landscape that continues to dominate or silence counter-histories and diverse voices. In particular it brings to the surface the uneven remembrance of the colonial genocide (1904-1908). Consisting of video installation, photography, mixed-media collage, soundscape, sculpture and performance interventions, the works exhibited have emerged out of an ongoing conversation and creative collaboration between artists, curators and scholars in Namibia and Germany over a period of several months in 2018 and 2019. In turn ‘Ovizire ∙ Somgu’ celebrates the possibilities of new voices of solidarity, resistance and healing.

Participants: Vitjitua Ndjiharine, Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja, Nicola Brandt, Ulrike Peters, Isabel Katjavivi and Hildegard Titus
In co-operation with the University of Hamburg (Prof. Jürgen Zimmerer) and the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

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