I have heard many things about you


Syowia Kyambi, “I have heard many things about you”, Performance 24.09.2016, Bremen

It’s important to present my work to you in a public way, to do this walk between the Übersee-Museum, through Doms hof via the Böttcher street to the Bremen City Gallery connecting with the ground, interrupting our everyday movements in the hopes of creating a moment to ask you to think about our collective history, specifically Bremen’s history with Namibia and how the colonial condition in our lives is not conscious.

My art often asks how we are personally contributing to situations and my work is demanding of the audience to see themselves in the ‘other’ and to recognize the struggle in this process.

The dress I’m wearing is a national Herero Day dress worn in Namibia in commemoration of the Herero/Namaqua genocide and those who fought for the rights of the Namibian people a country which gained it’s independence in 1990. The veil that follows the dress that I drag through the streets of Bremen include excerpts of letters and records from Chief Witbooi (c.1830 – 29 October 1905 one of nine national heroes of Namibia) and letters from German administrators engaging chiefs from different areas, constitutional resolutions, photographs from the Mohamed Amin Foundation of historical spaces in Namibia.

History is a long and layered narrative, and my work is only a moment, a moment asking for reflection. My performative action is a highlighter, marking some narratives, instigating operations of repair, through acknowledgement, through the sharing of knowledge and through the act of being present.

Syowia Kyambi