Collaboration on Colonialism, Art and Ritual with Jessie Kleeman
Cameroon and Greenland are 8,058 kilometers apart as the crow flies. At first glance there seem to be only differences between the two countries, differences in geography, climate, traditions and culture. In their collaboration, Christian Etongo and Jessie Kleemann focus on the one vital aspect that does link their countries of origin: their unresolved colonial past. Their research specifically focusses on the disappearance of traditions and rituals as a consequence of colonialism and ongoing imperialist repression. Christian and Jessie debate those consequences while reviving those forgotten, often prohibited, rituals as contemporary artists living.
“In our research, we discovered that both of our works are in search of a re-evaluation of our cultures. By reenacting, in collaboration, certain traditions and rituals of our home countries we believe we can open a debate about the consequences of colonialism and imperialism and how it influenced our people to repress our own cultures.”
About the Artist
For almost two decades now, Cameroonian artist Raphael Christian Etongo has devoted his career to performance art. He leads Perform’action, short intensive training workshops for research and experimentation on performance art. Etongo’s work has been featured in various international festivals, and he contributes to international conferences and curatorial discussions. Etongo participated in the first pan African performance art festival, Afiriperforma Biennale, in Harare in 2013, and more recently was invited as a participant in the conference on performance art at the Goethe Institute Yaoundé for the Rencontres d’Arts Visuels de Yaoundé (RAVY) Festival, 2014. He actively promotes arts and culture in Cameroon, most recently opening a cultural space for artistic creation, meetings, workshops and exchange in Yaoundé.
Christian also created a set of two solo performances for COLAB, both of which can be seen in the video below.