Fellowship

Fellow 2018/2019

Jessica de Abreu

Jessica de Abreu is an anthropologist, curator, and activist who graduated from the departments of Social and Cultural Anthropology and Culture, Organization and Management at VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam. Her passionate commitment to the field of African Diaspora has led to research on upward social mobility in New York, Amsterdam, and London. Her recent research project on organizational anthropology focused on social entrepreneurship in Black British communities from a postcolonial perspective. She is a board member at New Urban Collective and co-founder of The Black Archives, both Amsterdam.

Fellowship Research Trajectory

Anthropologist, activist, and curator Jessica de Abreu’s research trajectory focuses on how Black women, particularly from the organization Vereniging Ons Suriname (VOS), fit into the legacy of Black women’s activism in the Caribbean and Netherlands. VOS is one of the oldest migrant self-organizations in the Netherlands, celebrating its hundred year anniversary in 2019. While founders and activists such as Julius Jacob Gemmel, Eddy Bruma, and Otto Huiswoud are familiar names, little is known about the women within the organization and how they built an anti-colonial movement, a community, and other political work in the Netherlands. This research encourages intergenerational work to develop intersectional perspectives around archives, following the question: How did Black women’s activism develop at VOS between the 1940s and 1990s, and how was art used as a tool for education and social change?

Especially considering discourses around colonial history and its marginalized legacy, art as a space for social change can give voice to these silenced archives and histories. Moreover, the collaboration between art and postcolonial archives gives further meaning around healing from hate, erasure, and struggle.

Archival Propositions

BAK 2018/2019 Fellows Jessica de Abreu and Yasmine Eid-Sabbagh present at Propositions #7/6: Archive, the final iteration of the public series Propositions #7: Evidentiary Methods. The event also features Ariel Caine (Forensic Architecture, London) and takes place at BAK in the context of the exhibition Forensic Justice (18 October 2018–27 January 2019). This program is […]

Naomie Pieter: The Body in Black Women’s Activism

BAK 2018/2019 Fellows Jessica de Abreu and Patricia Kaersenhout, along with BAK, convene the January 2019 Fellows Intensive, focusing on the body as an archive, as a form of resistance, and the colonial legacies embodied today. Activist and artist Naomie Pieter leads the Fellows in a workshop on the use of the body as a […]

Arun Saldanha: Reontologising Race and the Post-Colonial Body

BAK 2018/2019 Fellows Jessica de Abreu and Patricia Kaersenhout, along with BAK, convene the January 2019 Fellows Intensive, focusing on the body as an archive, as a form of resistance, and the colonial legacies embodied today. Geographer and theorist Arun Saldanha joins the Fellows to present his work on reontologising race, affect, and ecologies, and […]

Related content

Cinema Olanda at The Black Archives

On 26 November 2017, one day after the opening of the exhibition Black and Revolutionary: The Story of Hermina and Otto Huiswoud, the Amsterdam premiere of Cinema Olanda (2017) took place at Vereniging Ons Suriname and The Black Archives. The film has been part of the installation Cinema Olanda, made by the artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh […]

To Dig A Hole That Collapses Again

A survey exhibition of Otobong Nkanga’s works is presented for the first time in the US. The exhibition titled To Dig A Hole That Collapses Again opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago from 31 March–9 September 2018.

Suely Rolnik: The Spheres of Insurrection

As part of the Fellowship program in November 2017, Wendelien van Oldenborgh convenes and moderates a (Skype) seminar with psychoanalyst, cultural critic, and curator Suely Rolnik. During this seminar, Rolnik discusses her text ”The Spheres of Insurrection: Suggestions for Combatting the Pimping of life” and how microspheric modes of existence are capable of interrupting the […]

Seminar with Andrea Phillips

As part of a session convened by 2017/2018 BAK Fellow Otobong Nkanga, educator and political organizer in the arts Andrea Phillips gave a seminar on her current research focus: reorienting contemporary art’s ecology toward producing more emancipatory forms of sharing—not simply about spatial sharing and inclusivity, but also at the level of wage labor.   […]

Seminar with Françoise Vergès

Political scientist, historian, and feminist Françoise Vergès joins the discussion via Skype on how artistic research can contribute to decolonial methodologies. With introduction by Olivier Bouin (director of the Network of French Institutes for Advanced Studies) and 2017/2018 BAK Fellow Pelin Tan.

Charl Landvreugd Accepted to De Akademie van Kunsten

Congratulations to Charl landvreugd, who has been accepted to the Dutch Akademie van Kunsten! De Akademie aims to interpret the voice of the arts in Dutch society (including politics) and to promote interaction between the arts themselves, art and society, and between science and art. It annually elects new members based on demonstrable artistic achievements.  […]

Collective Dictionary: Political

In April 2016, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, brought to life the Here We Are Academy: a spirited temporary recomposition of a refugee-initiated platform for learning called We Are Here Academy. Established in Amsterdam in 2012, We Are Here is the first large-scale organization of refugees living in limbo in the Netherlands. Through projects organized […]

Elizabeth Povinelli: Four Axioms of Critical Theory

Elizabeth A. Povinelli gives a seminar on the four axioms of critical theory during the first Fellowship 2017/2018 gathering on 6 October 2017.

Collective Dictionary: Xenia with Elena Isayev

Elena Isayev is a historian and professor at University of Exeter uses the ancient Mediterranean to explore migration, belonging, displacement and spatial perception. Her research is based on the intersection of Hospitality and Asylum, Potency of Displaced Agency, Common and Public Space. Her interdisciplinary and inter-practice approach has led to collective learning and research beyond the […]

Sruti Bala: Decolonizing Theater Studies and the Anecdote

Dr. Sruti Bala leads a discussion on decolonizing Theater and Performance Studies and the use of the anecdote during the Fellows Workshop on 21 November 2018.

Evolutionary Populations: Seeds of a World Waiting to Germinate

With the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, agronomist and phyto-geneticist, Salvatore Ceccarelli was forced to end his 25-year research period in Syria where he had been working with local farmers experimenting with a revolutionary agricultural method that develops participatory plant breeding, a type of breeding done in collaboration with farmers to breed […]

Regarding Curatorial Activism, the Role of History and Archives

As part of the 2nd Tehran Curatorial Symposium: Curator as Translator, January 2019, Katayoun Arian was invited by organizer, Fereshte Moosavi to speak on curatorial activism. Drawing parallels between the role of history, archival practices, activism, and the decolonial turn, she views the space in which the act of translation unfolds to act as a […]

False Heroes Must Be Forgotten: Rotunda Magazine conversation with Thiago de Paula Souza

Carolina Martínez speaks with BAK 2018/2019 Fellow Thiago de Paula Souza about his role as a curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale for Rotunda Magazine. From the article: Last month finished the latest Berlin Biennale, developed under the curatorial concept “We don’t need another hero”, where the concepts of power that we drag from imperialism […]

Collective Dictionary: Inhabiting

Inhabiting is an outcome of the collaboration between Al Maeishah (Isshaq Al-Babrbary, Elena Isayev, and Diego Segatto) and the Office of Displaced Designers (ODD), who invited Al Maeishah to implement their research on The Alternative Atlas of Lesvos: An Island for the World. The atlas aims to intersect with those forcibly displaced, with the global web […]

The Emotional Body

BAK 2018/2019 Fellows Jessica de Abreu and Patricia Kaersenhout, along with BAK, convene the January 2019 Fellows Intensive, focusing on the body as an archive, as a form of resistance, and the colonial legacies embodied today. Kaersenhout performs The Emotional Body (2018) for the Fellows, as well as guests from HKU University of the Arts, […]

Shela Sheikh: Colonialism, Cultivation, and Nonhuman Witnessing

As part of the Fellowship weekly intensive in November 2017, Fellow Luigi Coppola convenes a number of discussions including a seminar with lecturer and researcher Shela Sheikh on 24 November 2017 to talk about colonialism, cultivation and nonhuman witnessing and resistance to the colonial mode of organizing, appropriating and extracting value. In the afternoon session […]

Staring with Equality: Interview with Wendelien van Oldenborgh

Wendelien van Oldenborgh visited Japan in late 2017 to participate in “MOT Satellite 2017 Fall – Connecting Scapes,” organized at various locations by the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. Her work was exhibited at the Arts and Science Lab at Tokyo University of the Arts Ueno Campus, where she also held a screening and talk […]

Civilization at the Crossroad: Co-Curated by Lukáš Likavčan

Lukáš Likavčan and Pavel Sterec curate Civilization at the Crossroad: Engineers of Scientific-Technical Revolution at FUTURA gallery, Prague (4 December 2018–17 February 2019), reflecting on research done by philosopher Radovan Richta and his team in the 1960s and “a new Czechoslovakian socialism.” In addition to historical documents and media, the exhibition includes works by artists: […]

The Architecture of Entanglement Ontology

During  the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2018, The Swamp School will function as a changing, flexible, open-ended infrastructure that supports experiments in design, pedagogy and artistic intelligence. Invited designers and scholars, including BAK Fellow 2017/2018 Pelin Tan, will conduct performative lectures and lead workshops for participants and visitors to the Biennale. On Saturday 26 May 2018, Pelin […]

Take a Risk and Explore: The Visualisation of the Dutch Cleaners’ Movement

Excerpt from the article: On a summer’s day in 2011 a large group of workers gathered at the entrance of the headquarters of the Federation of the Dutch Trade Unions (FNV) in Amsterdam. The workers, all FNV members, were there to show their dissatisfaction with the negotiations for a new general pension agreement. It had […]

More Fellows