George Hallett: ‘Jazz in Exile’

Jazz in Exile

As part of the seminar ‘On Afrophobia: Decolonial Curatorial Approaches’, organised by artist Kjell Caminha at the Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, Christine Eyene will introduce the work of South African photographer George Hallett who documented the life of South African exiled activists, writers, musicians and visual artists in England, France and the Netherlands from 1970 to 1994.

Focusing on jazz musicians and visual artists, Eyene will discuss the experience of displacement and the links between art and politics. The presentation will include a selection of photographs by Hallett and snippets of South African jazz by Chris McGregor, Harry Miller, Dudu Pukwana, Mongezi Feza, Johnny Dyani and Louis Moholo. In an apartheid regime that denied human rights to black citizens on their own land, institutionalized segregation, and outlawed performing as a racially diverse South African jazz band, these musicians were forced into exile and have in turn enriched the European jazz scene, both in Britain and in Scandinavia. Such is the case of Dyani who moved to Denmark and Sweden in the 1970s-80s, performed with Don Cherry, and co-founded the jazz band Xaba with Mongezi Feza and Turkish percussionist Okay Temiz.

Broaching Hallett’s interest in multidisciplinary practices, the presentation will consider some of the artistic dialogues and echoes found in art pieces and graphic designs created in times of exile. These include jazz resonances in the work of the late Dumile Feni, or Hallett’s compositions for the covers of Heinemann’s African Writers Series, bringing together exile visual narratives and African literature.

The title ‘Jazz in Exile’, borrows from an article by South African author Lewis Nkosi published in Transition Magazine in 1966, it is also the theme of a photography series discussed by Hallett in a lecture during his visit to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in 2014. The Valand Academy presentation is a response to the current climate of xenophobia in certain pockets of Europe, in a context of historical amnesia tending to erase both the history and consequences of European migration to Africa, and the cultural contributions made by migrants, exiles, political refugees, to their European host countries.

This focus on George Hallett is developed by Christine Eyene as part of Making Histories Visible, a multidisciplinary research project led by Professor Lubaina Himid at the Centre for Contemporary Art, University of Central Lancashire.

Other announced speakers include: Nana Adusei-Poku, Alanna Lockward and Christian Nyampeta.

‘On Afrophobia: Towards Decolonial Curatorial Approaches’ is the second event in a series of seminars curated by artist Kjell Caminha as part of his artistic research. It has been shaped by forums on decoloniality methods, hospitality practices, pluriversalism, diversity and migration politics and knowledge. This seminar is supported by Valand Academy research board.

On Afrophobia: Towards Decolonial Curatorial Approaches
Monday 18 January 2016
15.00 – 18.00

Valand Academy
University of Gothenburg
Glashuset
Chalmersgatan 4

Free event

See more information here.

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