Ato Malinda and Peter van der Meijden are looking at how different objects are being represented at Danish museums. They are giving a special focus to the ways African objects are being displayed and how they come to represented a unitary identity of Africa; a huge land made by many different cultures with distinct languages and costumes. Most of the objects Ato and Peter analysed, recruited during colonialism time, they were primarily functional objects in their places of origin. They were brought to the West and today they gained certain aesthetic qualities that they didn’t originally have. What is the criteria used by Danish museums to archive and display objects coming from the African Continent? Is this criteria misrepresenting these objects and the cultures from which they came from? Does it make sense to apply museum’s standard logics to archive objects that were created to be impermanent?
Ato Malinda (born 1981, Kenya) has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from Transart Institute, New York. Her works consist of performance, drawing, painting, installation, video, and ceramic object-making. Through her diverse practice, Malinda investigates the hybrid nature of African identity, contesting notions of authenticity, as well as focuses on gender and sexuality. Malinda was one of the awardees of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2015) and won the One Minutes Award (2012) for moving photography. Her solo shows include “Games” (2013) at Savvy Contemporary, and “Incommensurable Identities” (2011) at Aarhus Art Building. She has exhibited in group exhibitions at Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (2014), the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution (2015), Salon Urbain de Douala in Cameroon (2010) and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen (2015).