Episode 25: Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa is presented here in conversation with artist, writer and independent curator, Sunil Shah. The discussion took place on 3rd June 2020 as part of the Atelier NŌUA and Double Dummy online educational programme, Once upon a time… conceived by Mathieu Asselin and Sergio Valenzuela-Escobedo between May and August 2020.
Stanley and Sunil discuss Stanley’s book One Wall a Web (Roma Publications, 2018) paying attention to what Sunil terms its documentary intersections. The talk discusses the book’s use of poetry, appropriated text and visual approaches to express Stanley’s own questioning of blackness, photography and the structural nature of racial and gendered violence in the US today.
Despite the work being made between 2012-2018, the discussion was made more timely and urgent due to events in the week preceding the talk – the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This unnecessary and tragic death is an example of the unrelenting brutality and violence that Black people in the US face every day from police and their fellow citizens, and it signals how racism undergirds societies across the world. The events surrounding George Floyd’s death was met with wide-scale public outrage, protests and riots in many US cities and abroad. The lack of worldwide political condemnation of the murder and the US President’s handling of the event is clearly apparent at a time when health officials have reported black and minority ethnic communities to be affected and dying from COVID-19 in disproportionately greater numbers than white communities. Furthermore, the lack of any clear response in light of this reality has further exposed how structural racism underpins mainstream societies.
The talk sets this as the context in which Stanley’s book is discussed and additionally highlights photography’s role and its relationship to race and racism.
–Editorial Note: It is with profound respect and thanks that I was allowed to share this content on the Nearest Truth platform. My gratitude goes out to all those involved. I think this discussion is critical right now. Please feel free to share this conversation as widely as possible and to check in with what all parties involved are up to on their respective sites. There will be more critical discussions coming soon with the Atelier NŌUA and Double Dummy Once Upon a Time program. Stay tuned, stay safe and stay involved.
Atelier Noua: https://www.noua.no/
Double Dummy Studio: https://doubledummystudio.com/