Studio Platzhalter

What happened here


A century after World War I ended, the narration of the war is still largely dominated by European perspectives: Silencing the vast global scale of the conflict, obscuring the perspectives of its non-European actors, claiming it to be a four years-episode of carnage that only disturbed Europe’s peace. In the multimedia lecture What Happened Here, artist Kathleen Bomani examines the history and ongoing effects of German colonialism and World War I in Africa. Using archival images, contemporary footage, 100 year-old labor songs and other mediums, the lecture brings to life four years (2014-2018) of research challenging the boilerplate narrative of World War I, and shines light on the unknown carnage of German colonialism. The East Africa campaign which ended in November 1917 was one of the longest and deadliest series of battles on the continent by far: Germany, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Belgium fought against each other by mainly using enslaved African soldiers. Kathleen Bomani digs this heritage out: not to commemorate its passing, but to restore its contemporary meaning.

Excerpt from Pankaj Mishra’s How colonial violence came home: the ugly truth of the fFirst World War (The Guardian online) 
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Performance as part of the festival
War or Peace - Crossroads of History 1918 / 2018

Concept & Performance
Kathleen Bomani