Yes, we want all people to have the same rights and opportunities! Yes, we want to use art to raise awareness and enable sustainably effective encounters! Yes, we want to make a contribution to equality and encourage and empower people who are marginalised or affected by discrimination. And yes, the world would be a better place if we were all feminists – “We should all be feminists!” (C. N. Adichie). The exhibition Empowerment gathers diverse feminist approaches and understands them as progressive methods to analyse the societies of the world with the means of art and to show possible ways out of the global crises.
Image above: corutesy of Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
Despite global movements, demonstrations and petitions to bring about equality, even in the 21st century we still cannot speak of comprehensive gender equality with regard to women and LGBTQIA+ communities – neither in this country nor elsewhere. Structural relations of power and inequality in many places prevent equal pay or the remuneration of domestic work and ensure oppression and exploitation up to and including physical violence or even murder: countless artists worldwide are reacting to these untenable conditions with their works in order to achieve equal and forward-looking life opportunities for themselves and other marginalised people. It’s a good time to take a look at how artists are infusing their art with political meaning and creating works of art that are as fascinating as they are evocative.
In the context of the exhibition Empowerment, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg is offering for the first time such a comprehensive global overview of art and feminisms of the 21st century with around 100 artistic positions – and from around 50 countries from all continents. Within the framework of seven thematic fields that have emerged from the worldwide research (Protest & Empowerment, Gender & Identity, Herstories & Other Narratives, Desired & Violated Bodies, Labour of Care, Planetary Challenges, Feminist Futures), the works of art will examine the following questions, among others: How do artists act in the postcolonial, digital present from their respective situations? What emancipatory understanding underlies their art? How do they broaden the view of a feminist-oriented future? Questions regarding social inequality, sexism, racism, migration, the relationship between bodies, technology and ecological concerns will also be negotiated. These are all issues that affect everyone.
In order to do justice to these globally significant perspectives, several international networks of academics, curators and artists were initiated for Empowerment. Their own research was supplemented by artistic proposals from globally active regional experts. The curatorial perspective is also broadened by the invited collectives Nacional TROVOA (Brazil), Njabala Foundation (Uganda), What the hell she doin! (Great Britain/Kenya/South Africa/Uganda), AXA projects (China) and Sandbox Collective (India), who each curate their own guest spaces within the exhibition. Empowerment is presented in a scenography specially designed for the show by the award-winning Berlin studio raumlabor.
Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Stacey Gillian Abe, Arshi Irshad Ahmadzai, Heba Y. Amin, Maja Bajević, Natalie Ball, Yael Bartana, Mehtap Baydu, Alexandra Bircken, Benedikte Bjerre, Monica Bonvicini, Phoebe Boswell, Andrea Bowers, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Candice Breitz, Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová, Christa Joo Hyun D’Angelo, Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo, Birgit Dieker, Display Distribute, Zehra Doğan, Anna Ehrenstein, Ndidi Emefiele, Nona Faustine, Renata Felinto, Nathê Ferreira, Keltie Ferris, Kasia Fudakowski, Regina José Galindo, Ellen Gallagher, Goldendean, Gabrielle Goliath, Jenna Gribbon, Nilbar Güreş, Shilpa Gupta, h. arta group, Mathilde ter Heijne, Hyphen-Labs, HOU I-Ting, Chen Jialu, Patricia Kaersenhout , Gladys Kalichini, Šejla Kamerić, Mari Katayama, Kerolayne Kemblin, Yuki Kihara, Seo-Kyung Kim & Eun-Sung Kim, Jakob Lena Knebl, Yaka Huni Kuin, Laetitia Ky, LASTESIS, Kitso Lynn Lelliott, Pixy LIAO, Laís Lino, Ann Lislegaard, XIAO Lu, Maria Macedo, Mary Maggic, Senzeni Marasela, Teresa Margolles, Taianã Mello, Silvana Mendes, Mitti Mendonça, Aline Motta, Shana Moulton & Nick Hallett, Zanele Muholi, Kresiah Mukwazhi, Marina Naprushkina, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Zohra Opoku, Tanja Ostojić, Pacific Sisters, Rosana Paulino, Âmbar Pictórica, Irena Jukić Pranjić, #purplenoise, Pushpamala N, Pussy Riot, Xiaoshi Qin, Lisa Reihana, Elianna Renner, Tabita Rezaire, Pipilotti Rist, Tracey Rose, Boryana Rossa, Raeda Saadeh, Larissa Sansour & Søren Lind, Mariela Scafati, Berni Searle, Selma Selman, Mithu Sen, Lerato Shadi, Tejal Shah, Nazaré Soares, Joulia Strauss, Melati Suryodarmo, Sandeep T K, Newsha Tavakolian, Elena Tejada-Herrera, Bussaraporn Thongchai, LIN Tianmiao, Wu Tsang, Moara Tupinambá, Kawita Vatanajyankur, Mônica Ventura, Kara Walker, Leafā Wilson aka Olga Hedwig Krause with Faith Wilson & Olive Wilson, Anna Witt, Ming Wong, Shevaun Wright, Juliana Xukuru, Jing Y. , LEI Yan, CAO Yu, Mia YU, Jade Maria Zimbra.
Kollektive / Guest Spaces
AXA projects (China / Deutschland):
Antonie Angerer, Anna-Viktoria Eschbach, Xiaotian Li
Nacional TROVOA (Brasilien):
Yedda Affini, Nutyelly Cena, Bianca Leite, Bárbara Milano und das gesamte Netzwerk
Njabala Foundation (Uganda):
Pamela Enyonu, Martha Kazungu
Sandbox Collective (Indien):
Shiva Pathak, Nimi Ravindran
What the hELL she doin!
(Großbritannien / Kenia / Südafrika / Uganda):
Sonia E. Barrett, Syowia Kyambi, Immy Mali, Usha Seejarim
Exhibitions date: Saturday, 10. September until Tuesday, 8. January 2023