The world is for the taking. It can be bought and sold like any slave because we are slaves; this is about color, yes, but the issue being highlighted is the socio-economic infrastructure of this country and others. These systems have been put into motion to keep the rich in place, to keep the elite prospering in the process of world domination. They pit the colonizer against the non-colonizer. The non-colonizer is black and brown, but today, more so than ever, the non-colonizer can be other colors, too, because the haves keep taking from, humiliating, subjugating, denigrating, and killing the have–nots.
And if we thought that safe zones might be places like museums and art galleries, where the other 99% of the population can support each other’s projects made against the backdrop of illusions and lies created by the 1%, we were and are wrong. Even in the face of police brutality, the increasing 1% take-over, the alt+right, the comeback of so many hate groups that have been in hiding, the hate groups that refuse to hide, and the sheer refusal to recognize human rights –some artistic spaces seem to align with a subversive stance. The truth rests behind the curtain; museums are puppets that propagate peace, yet demonstrate one-side collections of art. That’s against total fairness, against humanity. A museum stands for freedom and justice, right?
But what does a museum really stand for? That’s the purpose of a museum? Is a museum’s objective to speak to the wound or make it bigger? Is the museum’s goal to support artistic voice or the dollar? How does a museum grant space for artists who are fighting against the powers that be? Is the museum just a wolf in sheep’s clothing? These are the type of questions Decolonize This Place pose to the public.
Decolonize This Place rejects the borrowing of artistic spaces for 1% summits and holds museums accountable for housing exhibitions that foster inequality. If Occupy Museum sounds familiar, then consider Decolonize This Place their cousin. Decolonize This Place recognizes the illegal activities in Israel, against Palestinians, and they are calling for action.
Decolonize This Place is attacking Brooklyn Museum. Decolonize This place is protesting against an exhibition titled This Place that highlights Israeli artists from the West Bank, yet carelessly left out the Palestinian existence altogether, not just lives, but the taking and disregard for human life. Decolonize This Place created Agitprop! in response, and it continues to grow as protestors demand answers. What is happening to our museums and how can we preserve integrity? What is a museum anymore, anyways?
As it says on their about tab, “Decolonize This Place is a movement space, action-oriented around indigenous struggle, black liberation, Free Palestine workers and de-gentrification.” And they are not alone, they have some heavy hitters among their collaborators:
Aida Youth Center—Palestine, AKA Exit, Al-Awda NY, Black Poets Speak Out, Bronx Not For Sale, Chinatown Arts Brigade, Common Practice New York, Direct Action Front for Palestine, El Salón, Global Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.), Hyperallergic, Insurgent Poets Society, Jive Poetic, Mahina Movement.
They come strong and they are not backing down.
Decolonize This Place offers workshops, gives benefit concerts, and educates the public. They are behind #NODAPL, #BlackLivesMatter, and #FreePalestine.
Should you be called to action or be moved by the fearless audacity behind Decolonize This Place, have a look at their site where you can learn about upcoming events.
If you’re in New York City, Insurgent Poets Society will have an even on December 7th and two open houses on Saturday, December 10th and Saturday, December 17th. Link up, stand up, raise up.
WORDS BY: Jacklyn Janeksela