Exhibition: It’s the debt that you owe: debt, colonialism, and resistance

‘It’s the debt that you owe’: debt, colonialism, and resistance’ was a multidisciplinary art exhibition exploring how the legacy of colonialism has led to the debt crisis of today. The exhibition featured new work by artists with personal connections to countries that are currently in debt crisis or with history of colonialism.

The exhibition included original visual and performance work from 12 artists on the impact of debt on countries in the global south, including through the artists’ own lived experience of colonial and neo-colonial oppression and debt. Work sits across a wide variety of mediums from break dancing to oil painting, sculpture to songwriting, graphic typography to animation.   

We commissioned expressions of resistance and work that explores the dismantling of the colonial capitalist underpinnings of debt, and how debt links to the climate crisis.  

Our artists:

  • Amber Khokhar, is an Artist and designer. Amber combines her strong background in design with a diverse academic and practical knowledge of Traditional Art to create enchanting designs, paintings and products. https://www.amberkhokhar.com/
  • Blema Etrey, is a 51 year old Contortionist/dance/flexfitness trainer. https://www.youtube.com/@1blem/featured
  • CJ Simon, is a Black British writer and academic whose dynamic work finds a way to balance both the scholastic and poetic. As a playwright, spoken-word artist, essayist, videographer, and podcaster, CJ’s work endeavours to use multidisciplinary approaches in creating politically engaging and challenging work. https://www.cjsimonwrites.com/
  • dfawzi, is a multidisciplinary artist from “up north” with roots in Sudan, Egypt & England. His work often revolves around concepts of duality and the fusion of an ancestral and spiritual past with the present and future. “I like to experiment so it’s difficult to define my style and genre exactly. I’d say one theme that always seems to interest me the most is the perspective of the children of immigrants.” https://dfawzi.carrd.co/
  • Gayathiri Kamalakanthan is a Tamil performance poet. They tell stories through poetry and movement that ask: Whose imagination are we living in? How could we (slowly, slowly) build towards anti-colonial futures? When do we get to practise freedom? gayathiri.co.uk Josie Dale-Jones is a theatre maker, dramaturg, director, producer, writer & performer. Josie was co-director of Staging Change, a network of artists, venues and festivals working towards a greener industry. Josie runs her own company, ThisEgg and she currently works for Complicité as Project Producer.
  • Katherine Hasegawa, is a Venezuelan ARTivist based in Cambridge, UK. https://www.ideasforvenezuela.org/
  • Jelly Cleaver, uses music to create community and change. She aspires to the ideal of the artist as activist. Her work is often a meditation on the philosophical, the spiritual and the political. https://www.jellycleaver.com/
  • Monique Jackson, is an active artist and advocate for Long Covid, working with; charities, research and arts organisations raising visibility of the condition. In recent years Monique has enjoyed working in partnerships, co-designing creative programmes and facilitating workshops. Monique has had experience working independently on multiple arts educational projects. https://www.stillillcoronadiary.com/
  • Nadina Ali, is a graphic artist from Marseille who is passionate about social justice and representation. She uses bold and colourful typography to address these topics and to make art and creativity accessible to as many people as possible, especially people who don’t traditionally have easy access to art. Through her work, she also aims to amplify the voices of under-represented people. https://www.nadinadidthis.com/about-1
  • Nicola Constantina, her practice focuses on using materials such as human hair as a storytelling tool to challenge and unpack the intricate and complex relationship between race and identity that we encounter in our daily lives. https://craftspace.co.uk/artist-nicola-constantina/
  • Selena Scott, is a Cambridge based artist who aims to redefine the portrayal of Black people using oil painting, a medium traditionally reserved to perpetuate western ideals. Her work builds upon extensive research, focused on investigating the legacy of colonialism using personal stories, loaded imagery and colour to construct narrative. www.selenascott.com
  • SOMEGAL, ” Through a explorative process of archiving, illustration, 3D rendering, layering and iteration; I create vibrant, textured designs which celebrate social justice, mental well-being and our sacred connection to nature.” www.somegal.co.uk

The exhibition was launched on 8th November with a night of entertainment featuring live performances from the artists, premiere screenings of the video work, and a chance to learn more about the global struggle for debt justice. It ran until 16th November.

The exhibition was made possible thanks to the support of the Open Society Foundation.

This exhibition was made possible thanks to the generosity of our donors. If you can, please help us continue doing the work we do.

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