CURATING: Unfixed Photography and Postcolonial Perspectives in Contemporary Art

Unfixed Photography and Postcolonial Perspectives in Contemporary Art


UNFIXED (2009-2012) was a project that explored the relationship between photography, postcolonial perspectives, and contemporary art. It included an exhibition, symposium, workshop, artist commission-residency, and resulting publication.

The project was initiated and developed by independent curators Sara Blokland and Asmara Pelupessy through their nonprofit, Stichting UNFIXED Projects.


Investigating how photography can be ‘unfixed’ through contemporary conceptual, theoretical, and visual approaches, UNFIXED presents new critical perspectives on photography in relation to the cultural conditions of postcolonialism. With contributions by: Kobena Mercer (1960 UK), Keith Piper (1960 UK), Otobong Nkanga (1974 NG/FR), Hank Willis Thomas (1976 US), Charif Benhelima (1967 BE), Naro Snackey (1980 NL), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (1954 US), Andrea Stultiens (1974 NL), Pamela Pattynama (1958 NL), Yamini Nayar (1975 US), Sandim Mendes (1986 NL), Habda Rashid (1971 UK), Terry Kurgan (ZA), Rattana Vandy (1980 KH), Lizza May David (1975 DE), Natalie Robertson (1962 NZ), Kaddu Wasswa John (1933 UG), Arthur Conrad Kisitu (1975 UG), Quinsy Gario (1984 CU/SM), Murtaza Vali (1974 IN), Asmara Pelupessy (1981 US/NL), Sara Blokland (1969 NL)

Edited by Sara Blokland and Asmara Pelupessy

Graphic design: Yvonne van Versendaal

ISBN 978-94-90322-29-8 2012

The UNFIXED book can be ordered through Jap Sam Books.


EXHIBITION 23 October – 4 December 2010

Center for Contemporary Art (CBK) Dordrecht, The Netherlands


In the UNFIXED exhibition, a group of six international artists reconstructed and re-contextualized fixed versions of photographic history through their installations, found and vernacular images, sculpture, text, and video. The simultaneously manipulative and elusive nature of photography plays an important role in the work of each of these artists and the approaches they take on issues relevant to postcolonialism: Charif Benhelima (BE 1967), Otobong Nkanga (FR 1974), Keith Piper (UK 1960), Naro Snackey (NL 1980), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (USA 1954), Hank Willis Thomas (USA 1976).

SYMPOSIUM 16/11/2010 Center for Contemporary Art (CBK) Dordrecht, The NetherlandsThe symposium explored photography’s relationship to changing notions of cultural histories, identities, and representations. The day included talks, presentations, and discussions by the artists, a keynote speaker, curators, and scholars. Presentations took varied forms including lectures, conversations, performances, etc.

Keynote: Kobena Mercer (UK) and other speakers: Charif Benhelima (BE), Otobong Nkanga (FR/NG), Keith Piper (UK), Naro Snackey (NL), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (US), and Hank Willis Thomas (US). Pamela Pattynama (NL), Natalie Robertson (NZ), and a collaborative presentation from Andrea Stultiens (NL), Kaddu Wasswa John (UG), and Arthur Kisitu (UG). Moderator: Farid Tabarki (NL).

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT WORKSHOP 15/11/2010Participants: Sara Rosa Espi (ZA), Sophie Feyder (LU), Tasha Finn (AU), Massimiliano Fusari (IT), Rosie Heinrich (UK/NL), Annabel Hesselink (NL), Erika Larsson (SE), Sandim Mendes (NL), Kathleen Reinhardt (DE), Natalie Robertson (NZ), Ohad Ben Shimon (IL/FR), Nadine Siegert (DE), Natasa Siencnik (AT), Atêf Sitanala (NL), Leili Sreberny-Mohammadi (UK), Ambrose Naqeeb Stevens (US). Artist-in-Residence: Keith Piper. Read here about his project.

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Keith Piper (1959 UK) is a multi-media artist, curator, and lecturer.

A Future Museum of the Present grew out of a residency undertaken by the artist Keith Piper in Dordrecht over a two-month period during the summer of 2010. The Future Museum is a statement of Keith Piper’s ‘outsider’ reflections on Dordrecht, Dutch culture, and the notions of an archive. The museum includes an interactive video installation, reading room, and artifacts.

Installation: A Future Museum of the Present Een Toekomstig Museum van het Heden by Keith Piper