Spotlight Series

Spotlight: C&

Continuing our week highlighting the work of C&, today we bring you An Paenhuysen’s interview with French-Guyanese-Danish media artist Tabita Rezaire, who talks about decolonization, health, politics, collaboration, and the West’s discovery of African art. This conversation was originally published on July 5, 2016.

Tabita Rezaire. Portrait from Cunty Party. Courtesy of the Artist and C&.

Tabita Rezaire. Portrait from Cunty Party. Courtesy of the Artist and C&.

An Paenhuysen: You call yourself a “warrior–healer.” Could you tell us a little about the wounds you’re healing with your art?

Tabita Rezaire: Survival hurts, for every conscious being. Yet, for some it’s harder as the society they live in devaluates their existence or consistently persecutes their lives. Internalized and accumulated pains from generational, ancestral, or experienced traumas make one’s ability to navigate the world a struggle. These traumas may manifest in different ways, but I believe they all stem from severe disconnections. We are disconnected from the earth, from each other, from our own selves, and from the universe. A warrior–healer is seeking to restore energetic balance on all those levels. Because fighting alone is consuming and draining, if you don’t have tools to nurture your energies you’ll burn out.

AP: The mind-spirit-body pollution inflicted through White Western dominance is a topic in your work on all levels: from visual language to food. Yet your major focus and tool is the internet. Why?

TR: Well it isn’t, I just get asked about this more. All realms of our realities need to be decolonized. Because it is our health that needs to be politicized. And our health is equally threatened by our diet, the shaming of our cultures, the fetishization of our bodies, the murders of our siblings, and the technologies that we use. I don’t impose a hierarchy on what needs to be dismantled. It is the whole colonial-capitalist-patriarchal-scientific-technological-medical-penal-educational complex that needs to be taken down. For this to happen, we need to reconnect and decolonize on all levels and become response-able. That is a commitment and a long journey: Healing takes time. Healing is hard. Healing hurts. And it is not linear. We’ll collapse again and again, but each time we’ll be able to deal better with what’s to come.

Read the full conversation here.

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