Race: Proposals in Truth and Reconciliation

Curated by Sadira Rodrigues

What are the possibilities of talking about race today? It is critical that we continue to challenge the conditions of racism, marginality, exclusion, and xenophobia. But how does one approach talking about a subject whose archaeologies of knowledge have been laden with histories of conflict and contestation? And how does one do this with a commitment to generosity, truthfulness, and reconciliation?

Over the last year, there has been an escalating presence of race in every aspect of social, political, and economic life. Barrack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech in Philadelphia became the most popular video in the world, drawing 1.2 million views in the first 24 hours after it aired. Described by some writers as the most important speech on race given by any American politician, it pointed to the fact that racial discord in the US, although entrenched, distracting, and emotional, was not necessarily intractable. It is this disavowal of intractability that forms the core of Speaking Truth to Reconciliation. Is it possible to engage with a fraught subject, but with a commitment to moving beyond questions of accountability or accusation, towards a conversation that both acknowledges the conditions of exclusion, while seeking shared ground?

Through an exhibition and forum Speaking Truth to Reconciliation brings together artists, writers, and curators to consider the possibilities of discussing this contested subject and “speaking out.”

The artists will engage with Artspeak as a site of dialogue and discussion that takes the principle of “truth telling” as a framing device, while considering these concepts poetically, pedagogically, and declaratively.