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Learning from Dhaka

Richter, D. (2016) Learning from Dhaka. In: Garcia-Anton, K., Cataldo, A. and Betancourt, D. C. (eds.) Critical Writing Ensembles. Mousse Publishing, Milan, pp. 234-247. ISBN 9788867492701

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Abstract/Summary

The phrase ‘I know that I know nothing’ came to my mind when we all met in Dhaka for the Critical Writing Ensembles.1 I understood that I had a lot to learn from this wonderful, colourful, crowded city. On my way to the hotel, I saw many people on the streets, all sorts of cars, rickshaws, businesses. I saw exquisite displays of fruits in pyramid forms. I saw illuminated shops filled with sparkling lamps and lights. I saw gracefully written letters, which I couldn’t decipher, contrasting with well-known advertisements. Nice people stared at me. A small young woman who was in charge of cleaning the bathroom of the exhibition spaces wanted to take a photo with me. I felt like a white elephant. I saw interesting exhibitions in the city, met old friends, and made new ones. As colleagues, we talked a lot about what decolonisation in the arts, in art history, and in curating might be. We saw all sorts of existing power relations, old ones and new ones, local ones and depressingly global ones. I felt somewhat insecure about how to write about a society I don’t know; describing mere impressions can be totally misleading. As Ananya Roy argues, it is necessary to transform the ways in which the cities of the global South are studied and represented.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Art > Fine Art
ID Code:74741
Publisher:Mousse Publishing

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