Racism, colonialism, self-representation and oppression remain (sadly) relevant themes that world events in 2020 and 2021 have brought into even sharper focus. The Re:Present exhibition showcases works that invite us to question inherited perceptions and the imbalances of the imperialist legacy.
- Exhibition part of the Calle Libre festival
- Shown at the Weltmuseum Wien
- Works contributed by 11 artists, photographers and activists
- Runs Aug 8, 2021 – Jan 11, 2022
- See also: Weltmuseum ticket and visitor tips
(Press photo © Calle Libre)
For a week each August, the Calle Libre festival celebrates street art with live paintings and other activities. The 2021 theme is Re:Present, which explores the “heterogeneity of our shared pasts” in the sense of giving back agency and a true representation of their history to the victims of imperialism.
This topic, which covers such issues as racism and colonialisation, meshes well with the times we live in (think #BlackLivesMatter) and with the philosophy of the Weltmuseum; the museum’s own exhibitions regularly explore similar themes that always bubble to the surface in the life of a modern ethnographic institution.
It makes perfect sense, then, to see a special Re:Present Unlearning Racism exhibition appear at the museum under the aegis of Calle Libre.
The contemporary art on display offers a chance for examination of, for example, the (cultural) legacy of colonialism in an even more dissonant environment than some anonymous house wall or modern gallery. The Neue Burg Habsburg-built surrounds provide an additional frisson to the artistic encounter.
Eleven different artists and activists have contributed works or created works on the walls of the museum. They challenge stereotypes, bias, and a history written by those with a bigoted sociocultural agenda.
The presence of these works close to the Weltmuseum’s cultural collection also encourages dialogue and reflection concerning the legitimacy of historical ethnographic collections and how such collections should be presented in a museal context. Not every question will be answered, but even to ask such questions is some kind of progress compared to past decades.
As soon as I have a chance to visit, I’ll post my impressions.
Tickets and dates
The Calle Libre festival runs from August 2nd to August 7th, 2021, but the Re:Present exhibition enlivens the museum from August 8th, 2021 to January 11th, 2022. A normal ticket* to the Weltmuseum (or a Vienna Pass) includes access to the temporary exhibitions and installations.
As you visit the galleries of the museum, you may encounter images of plants in the folds of yarn netting. The Dark Pairings installations share the spirit of Re:Present by inviting critical thinking about the colonial past and legacy.
How to get to the exhibition
Check the main Weltmuseum article for travel tips.
Address: Heldenplatz, 1010 Wien