Every day is for the thief and one day is for the owner
SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum is proud to be hosting Anawana Haloba’s first solo exhibition in Norway.
Haloba works with performance-based sound and video installations that are often the result of longer periods of research. In the process, she also produces textual material and poetic writing. In her exhibitions Haloba reflects on the bodily presence of the audience, inviting people to step into and explore her installations through movements and interaction.
Anawana Haloba revisited Zambia, the country where she was born, to do research for the exhibition. She has investigated the economic, ideological, social and cultural frameworks that helped shape the Zambian society of her childhood in the 1980s. With Zambia as a starting point, the exhibition reflects on post-colonial developments in southern parts of Africa in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Yet Haloba goes even further by looking at some of the problems in the history of independence, among other topics, the rise and fall of the ideologies of pan-Africanism and African socialism, the stifling of freedom of speech, dictatorship and China’s influence in the region.
The main work in the exhibition at SKMU bears the title Confessions of a delusional dictator and a museum of guilt. Haloba has built a safety bunker for a fictional president. Based on her research on several African dictators, the bunker holds a marble confession box containing a two-channel video work. In it a delusional dictator is giving his contradictory confession to a female priest. The bunker also contains the president’s personal museum; among what is on show here are memorabilia and trophies like propaganda material, news clippings, information on victims of torture and merchandise confiscated from supporters of his opponents.
For the second work in the exhibition, Haloba has for the first time made an animation video. A Dragon King at Sleepy Pride Rock is a satirical take on China’s presence in Africa as a whole and Zambia in particular. The video is the first in a series of works based on Haloba’s research on myths and facts about the relation between China and African states, from both a historical and a contemporary perspective.
Anawana Haloba (born 1978 in Livingstone, Zambia) lives and works in Oslo, Norway. Having studied at the art academies Kunstakademiet in Oslo (2002-06) and Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam (2007-08), she has exhibited at numerous biennials and in art institutions in Norway and abroad. In 2016 Haloba is invited to participate in the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo and in larger group shows in Africa, Europe and the USA.
Image: Anawana Haloba, A Dragon King at Sleepy Pride Rock, 2016, animation video. ©AnawanaHaloba