In Search of Gilbert and Idrissa: African Students in the USSR
Sandra Muteteri Heremans
For her contribution to “ExitStateCraft,” artist Sandra Muteteri Hermans presents the script of a film project in progress. Accompanied by a mapping of historical images, this screenplay revolves around dialogues between two students, Gilbert from Rwanda and Idrissa from Guinée-Bissau, who studied in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Through these fictional characters, as well as guest appearances by Nikita Krushchev and John F. Kennedy, Heremans charts transnational lives in the context of decolonization, showing the complex entanglements between the communist “Second World” and the non-aligned “Third World.” As a montage of voices and images, In Search of Gilbert and Idrissa: African Students in the USSR excavates and reactivates histories buried under decades of myopic “First World” triumphalism.