When The Land SpeaksI want to refuse indifference.
As the filmmaker and literary theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha declares, “I do not intend to speak about; just speak nearby.” When you decide to speak “nearby” you acknowledge the possible gaps in understanding—you leave a “space of representation open” in order to “deliberately suspend meaning … this allows the other person to come in and fill that space as they wish”.
The scale of the memories that have marked lives and the ravaged landscapes of Namibia, be it through colonial conquest, industry, mining, migration, or greed, can prompt—as the critic Sean O’Toole has pointed out, “hopelessness, or–worse still–indifference.”
I want to refuse indifference.
I wish to enliven the historical connections between the past and the present. My hope is that my work might prompt audiences to reflect on the uneven multi-directional memory at play and how these histories continue to impact the environment and lives today.
Nicola Brandt is a Namibian artist, writer, and the founder of the experimental residency and publishing platform “Conversations Across Place” (CaP). Brandt believes that art and activism can assist in facilitating cross-cultural dialogue, and social and environmental change. Her work has featured as part of intergovernmental talks between Namibia and Germany and has been presented at the National Art Gallery of Namibia, the MAXXI Museum in Rome, Italy, the Universities of Yale and Stanford in the United States, and the Würth Museum in Germany among other places. She is currently working on a photo book with Steidl Verlag that explores the entangled legacies of German colonialism.