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Visual History Lab 2021: Quilombo - Sharing Perspectives with Artists from DRC, Brazil and Switzerland

The focus of the Visual History Lab 2021 was on “Quilombo”, a collaboration of artists from Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Switzerland. A group of four students produced a video reflecting on the artistic project and on the role of Quilombos – Brazilian settlement of African descent – as places of resistance.

The Visual History Lab 2021 took place in the context of a project entitled “Quilombo”, a collaboration between SALTS (Switzerland), Waza Art Center Lubumbashi (Democratic Republic of the Congo), and Lago Mio Lugano artist residency (Switzerland). Once synonymous with escape and resistance, “quilombo” today stands for a Brazilian settlement of African descent. Anthropologists and historians meanwhile have arrived at a new understanding of these rural communities, calling for a broader definition: Regardless of their specific history, quilombos share collective identities and notions, linking them to their African roots and making them fight common battles as people in the DRC, Switzerland or anywhere else: against capitalism and racism, and for the equitable distribution of resources.

The Visual History Lab took place in Lugano in September 2021. Participants worked together with Brazilian, Congolese and Swiss artists in residence at Lago Mio. One result is a video produced by a group of four students based on interviews with participating artists Maya Quilolo and Joseph Kasau, as well as the curators Patrick Mudekereza and Samuel Leuenberger.