Okhiogbe Omonblanks Omonhinmin
Archiving The Mo(Ve)Ment is an audio-visual project that aims to investigate and document the experiences of people of Black and African heritage who work in the area of knowledge decolonisation and reclaiming & centering narratives. In doing so, we pursue the goal of making social cross-sections visible; by taking the production of knowledge into our own hands to counteract post-colonial structures and mentalities.
Who knows what? Who doesn’t? And why? This exercise allows us to visualise and understand how concepts of knowledge, scholarships and science are intrinsically linked to power and racial authority. What knowledge is being acknowledged as such? And what knowledge is not? What knowledge has been made part of academia agendas? And what knowledge has not? Whose knowledge is this? Who is acknowledged to have knowledge? And who is not? Who can teach knowledge? And who cannot? Who is at the center? And who remains outside, at the margins? (...)
These questions are important to ask because the center, which I refer to here as academia center, is not a neutral location. It is a white space where Black people have been denied the privilege to speak. Historically, it is a space where we have been voiceless and where white scholars have developed theoretical discourses that formally constructed us as the interior ‘Other,’ placing Africans in absolute subordination to the white subject. (Grada Kilomba: Plantation Memories: 25, 26, 2019)
ARCHIVING THE MO(VE)MENT: Documenting the Black and African experience in knowledge decolonisation is a critical intervention as well as aiming to recapture and increase participation in academia, by repositioning what it means to be a knowledge producer in traditional and non-traditional ways. The aforementioned intervention takes a closer look at those individuals or groups who in their own way are preserving, reshaping, returning, unlearning, repositioning their center as knowledge producers.
Okhiogbe Omonblanks Omonhinmin was born in Benin City, Nigeria in 1985. He is an interdisciplinary creative producer or (as artist J Morgan Puett describes) an ambassador of entanglement who or like (Bruce Lee would say) be like water, he takes on the shape, form or position needed to actualise projects in the areas of documentation, archiving, festival curating and producing, creative direction, film, music, installation art practices, and more. He works within intersections, and uses tools such as research-based methods in oral storytelling, biographical conversation and documentation. He believes that the body is a memory collector, and that everything we do takes on a life of its own. This is evidenced through his relationship with people, stories, spaces, spices, cooking. Sharing collected memories and food are, thus, key parts of his practice as such, his work always has elements of social engagement. Omonblanks contends that practitioners, especially those with Black and African heritage, should be given the same room and regard as their academic colleagues, because only through practice do we get to test theories. He started ‘The Art Concept’, a documentation and archive-focused platform interested in African and Black societies from individual, community, city, country and continent perspectives, as a way of taking back power to determine our center and tell our narratives. As an Ajala traveller, Omonblanks lives between Accra, London, soon Berlin and frequently visits Lagos/ Benin City. So far, he has shared food and conversations, curated experiential events, held lectures and worked on projects that include: Kampnagel, Hamburg (2020); The Art Concept, Accra (2017- till date), Asa Baako One-Dance (2018- current) FOKN Bois (2015-2019) VILLY & The Xtreme Volumes (2008-2019) M.Bassy, Hamburg (2020) ACUD (2020). Omonblanks has been awarded the University of Art in Berlin Artist Research Fellowship 2021 (October 2021-2023).