As a small, largely informal, artist collective, it would be easy to say we’re too busy working, too busy creating, too busy staying afloat to engage in a deliberate or consistent manner with any Big Issues™ that are not Art as such. We could say that, in fact, it really isn’t our place. We could suggest that we should act ‘neutral’, and stay silent. That would not only be foolish, it would also be false. It would be untrue to our proper work as artists, curators, and citizens. In various ways, we participate individually in large and small battles against these Big Issues. However, we are still working out how that fight and commitment is best translated in our work as a collective.
We are acutely aware of the fraught historical moment in which we live and work. We are also cognizant of the legacies— literary, cultural, economic— that we have been handed; we bear some of these inheritances much more easily than others. Patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism— in all their manifestations— are some of the concerns that keep us up arguing at night, drive us to tears, and demand that we keep working, and engaging.
We do not take this platform for granted. We do not take our various privileges for granted. We are grateful that you engage with us, and challenge us. We are grateful that you read, watch, study, listen. We are grateful that you care, and you remain present.
We cannot promise that we will not stumble. We will contradict ourselves. At points, we will be naive, and slow, and ridiculous, and stubborn, and ignorant. But we will not be deflected. We will not be daunted. Bear with us.
Whenever possible, we hope to amplify thoughtful and radical voices. Beyond our issues, we ran a series around the political turmoil surrounding the Kenyan elections. We return, now, to offer our platform to better grapple with the legacy of exclusion, particularly as a symptom of patriarchy and neo/colonialism, in artistic creation, circulation, consumption and critique on the continent.
So come with us.
Share what you are learning and unlearning. Share your anecdotes about exclusion and inclusion in this strange magical space of ours. Show us your imaginations of what a nourishing literary and artistic space on our continent might operate. Share your words of caution; tell us how to be better. Send us photos. Send us your videos. Send us your poems and essays and notes in progress. Let’s teach each other. Let’s re/create this space together. Stay patient with us, and most importantly, pay attention.
Check out our submission requirements here.