A Creative Journey: Presenting The Lisbon Residency
In an atmosphere of inspiration and collaboration, our talented artists embarked on a journey for this main event in Lisbon from October 16th to 25th. This residency allowed artists to unite and share their creativity while working on their projects within the Portuguese art scene, exploring the connections and vibes that only Lisbon could give them. It’s not a coincidence that Lisbon was chosen as the venue for this event: this city, especially, has a deep historical connection with the transatlantic enslaved people trade since 1500. It became a central hub for the trade of enslaved Africans, serving as both a focal point for receiving captives and subsequently deporting them to other Portuguese cities and abroad.
The residency started with a challenging discussion hosted by DJASS-ASSOCIAÇÃO de Afrodescendentes, an anti-racist association dedicated to fighting for the rights of Africans and people of African descent in Portugal. One of their significant endeavours is advocating for the creation of a memorial that pays homage to the millions of individuals enslaved by the Portuguese empire. This inaugural session also featured a spirited debate where artists explored the profound relationship between art and memory: a topic that followed the journey and introduced them to the tour that followed the discussion. In fact, as a second step, the group embarked on a trip through Lisbon led by Mimas, a guide from Cova da Moura. While showing them the historical pathways of the city, everyone was guided into the artistic and cultural field of the area: this experience allowed everyone to connect with the profound history related to the transatlantic trade and the impact it had on enslaved individuals, reflecting on a topic that is often overlooked and forgotten.
Discussion with Les Anneaux de la Memorie
One of the most impactful moments of the residency was the roundtable organised in collaboration with our partner, Les Anneaux de la Mémoire. Chaired by our artistic anchor, Dr. Vânia Gala and Patricia Beauchamp Afadé with Evalina Dias, Alissandra Cummins, Ibrahima Seck and Barbara Chiron, the roundtable, titled “Arts and the Re-imagination of Europe’s Collective Memory of the Transatlantic Trade of Enslaved People,” aimed to explore various approaches to integrating art into the remembrance of the transatlantic trade and colonial enslavement history. Experts, MANIFEST artists, and the general public came together to discuss focusing on exploring diverse approaches to integrating art into the narrative of remembrance surrounding the transatlantic slave trade and colonial enslavement. The discussion also emphasised changing how this history is perceived, particularly regarding its appeal to all citizens and addressing the specific expectations of Afro-descendant communities.
Spotlight on Artistic Showcase
The centrepiece of the residency was the artistic showcase, where our talented artists displayed their creations and had the chance to talk about them to a diverse audience, that included local art enthusiasts and influential individuals from the arts and culture sphere: it was a unique opportunity for all the artists to immerse themselves in the creative scene of Lisbon. The public had the privilege to explore the artists’ studios, engage in stimulating discussions, and attend presentations where the artists provided valuable insights into their creative works on different keys and perspectives.
In conclusion, the Lisbon residency was an artistic trip filled with intellectual discourse, historical exploration, and creative expression. It underscored the power of art in exposing history and reimagining the collective memory of the transatlantic enslaved people trade. This event left an indelible mark on all who participated, fostering a better understanding of the impact of art in shaping our perceptions of history.