The Scattered Colonial Body: Working with Contested Heritage in Rome
Thursday 11 October 2018, 14.15 – 16.00, SAI, Seminar room ES 648. UiO, Blindern, Eilert Sundts hus, Moltke Moes vei 31, 0317 Oslo.
Leone Contini (artist, Florence) Loretta Paderni (Museo delle Civiltà, Rome), Rossana di Lella (Museo delle Civiltà, Rome), Arnd Schneider (SAI, University of Oslo)
L’intruso (The Intruder), ©Leone Contini, 2017.
In this seminar we will discuss a recent research project (as part of TRACES, EU Horizon 2020), including the exhibition ‘Bel Suol d’Amore – The Scattered Colonial Body’ (Museo delle Civiltà, 2017) where we investigated collections of the former IsIAO – L’Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (The Italian Institute of Africa and the Orient), including the former African Colonial Museum – now in storage in the Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography L. Pigorini (part of Museo delle Civiltà), and other institutions in Rome.
Ongoing fieldwork and research on these collections also includes interviews with former settlers of Libya (a former Italian colony), and the critical artistic representation of family memories and practices (e.g. food) against a more general background of amnesia around this period in Italian society. A central focus of our exhibition are the facial plaster masks, executed during expeditions by Italian anthropologists to Libya, in the 1920s and 1930s, often with an agenda of scientific racism. In a series of performances, and installation devices these masks are critically examined, constructed and reconstructed in the exhibition, and like other elements of research and exhibition open up the discussion of this kind of neglected heritage and museum institutions in today’s post-colonial context in Italy and beyond.