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Sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito

Black History Month Florence 2020

An exhibition that examines the implementation of social obligations towards dirty work, the shortcomings of cultural assimilation, the silencing of histories and the politics of respectability.

The artists in the exhibition each draw upon experiences of a periods of permanence in Italy that pushes them to engage the cities of Rome, Umbertide, Milan and Florence as sites for cultural production with the need to engage history while not falling victim to it.

Activist Pape Diaw, in a 2013 interview spoke of “…sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito “, literally getting our hands dirty to do a clean job. This contradiction is at the core of a social context where dirty work is engaged in to maintain a status governed by the politics of respectability and social policing.

The exhibition, curated by Black History Month Florence, as part of the 5th edition of BHMF, in collaboration with Villa Romana (Florence), Civitella Ranieri Foundation (Umbertide) and Galleria Continua (San Gim

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An exhibition that examines the implementation of social obligations towards dirty work, the shortcomings of cultural assimilation, the silencing of histories and the politics of respectability.

The artists in the exhibition each draw upon experiences of a periods of permanence in Italy that pushes them to engage the cities of Rome, Umbertide, Milan and Florence as sites for cultural production with the need to engage history while not falling victim to it.

Activist Pape Diaw, in a 2013 interview spoke of “…sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito “, literally getting our hands dirty to do a clean job. This contradiction is at the core of a social context where dirty work is engaged in to maintain a status governed by the politics of respectability and social policing.

The exhibition, curated by Black History Month Florence, as part of the 5th edition of BHMF, in collaboration with Villa Romana (Florence), Civitella Ranieri Foundation (Umbertide) and Galleria Continua (San Gimignano), presents the work of 6 international artists who have used the Italian context as a place of artistic production. A series of transversal works leads to a reworking of stereotyped notions of Made in Italy that tend to exclude Afro-descendents, revealing colonial attitudes and inviting and breaking preconceptions.

An insistence on personal narratives as an override to the flattened projections of Blackness, the construction of bridges between a colonial past and a neo-colonial contemporary reality and the ethereality of monumentality all infuse these works with a meditation on the past as a marker of what’s to come.

Together they form a harmonic melody that is discordant with the prescribed, centralized, consumed narrative but finds just enough alignment to relay its power to enrich the age-old tune

Sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito

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Sasha Huber

Photographer, video artist, performer

Sasha Huber (CH/FI) is a visual artist of Swiss-Haitian heritage, born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1975. She lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Huber’s work is primarily concerned with the politics of memory and belonging, particularly in relation to colonial residue left in the environment. Sensitive to the subtle threads connecting history and the present, she uses and responds to archival material within a layered creative practice that encompasses performance-based interventions, video, photography, and collaborations. Huber is also claiming the compressed-air staple gun, aware of its symbolic significance as a weapon, while offering the potential to renegotiate unequal power dynamics. She is known for her artistic research contribution to the Demounting Louis Agassiz campaign, aiming at dismantling the glaciologist’s lesser-known but contentious racist heritage. This long-term project (since 2008) has been concerned with unearthing and redressing the little-known history

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Sasha Huber (CH/FI) is a visual artist of Swiss-Haitian heritage, born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1975. She lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Huber’s work is primarily concerned with the politics of memory and belonging, particularly in relation to colonial residue left in the environment. Sensitive to the subtle threads connecting history and the present, she uses and responds to archival material within a layered creative practice that encompasses performance-based interventions, video, photography, and collaborations. Huber is also claiming the compressed-air staple gun, aware of its symbolic significance as a weapon, while offering the potential to renegotiate unequal power dynamics. She is known for her artistic research contribution to the Demounting Louis Agassiz campaign, aiming at dismantling the glaciologist’s lesser-known but contentious racist heritage. This long-term project (since 2008) has been concerned with unearthing and redressing the little-known history and cultural legacies of the Swiss-born naturalist and glaciologist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), an influential proponent of “scientific” racism who advocated for segregation and “racial hygiene”. Huber has had solo exhibitions such as at the Hasselblad Foundation (Project Room) in Gothenburg and participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the 56th la Biennale di Venezia in 2015 (collateral exhibition: Frontier Reimagined), the 19th Biennale of Sydney in 2014, and in the 29th Biennial of São Paulo in 2010.

Sasha Huber

The Firsts-Edmonia Lewis - Sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito