press release

Depo opens its doors with a group exhibition that invites viewers to ask how acts of witness can motivate social change. The exhibition is developed within the framework of a five-day workshop on Women Creating Change: Mobilizing Memory for Action that brings together an international group of scholars, artists, and activists to analyze the activist work memory practices can enable, through a collaboration of Columbia Global Centers l Turkey, Columbia University's Center for the Study of Social Difference and the Sabancı University Gender and Women's Studies Forum. The feminist artworks displayed in Mobilizing Memory: Women Witnessing imagine memory as part of a larger politics of resistance. They mobilize memories of past and present violence precisely to create the conditions and the motivations for social change. They foreground unofficial acts of witness and forms of commemoration that provide alternative histories and different political imaginaries. They make visible not only violent crimes and their gendered dimensions, but also the intimate texture of lives and communities that have survived or are fighting to survive immense destruction. Some of the questions which are aimed to be raised for discussion might be listed as follows: What is the role of witnessing in practices of resistance: resistance to enforced silence and forgetting, to state power, and to inaction? What role do the arts play in combatting the erasure of past violence from current memory and in creating new visions and new histories for future generations? In particular, what unique strategies have women devised to reveal and redress the violence directed at woman and at other disempowered social groups?