MONUMENTS FOR EQUALITY
What attributes would a monument need to have in order to bring us together? How could monuments relate to notions of equality? What values would we like to pass on to future generations?
Over the past few years, public monuments in the UK have been the focus of debate and action to question existing dominant narratives of national identity that glorify violent forms of imperialist extraction and white supremacy in the past and present. This project aims to explore if and how public monuments can contribute to the social and structural changes needed to reimagine and co-create an egalitarian society.
Monuments for equality is a participatory research project that aims to explore the value of monuments and their relations to the contemporary human condition. Over the past few years, monuments have been at the core of important social and cultural changes, which have questioned the idea of identity as a pre-given knowledge. Within a larger context of a re-examination of the idea of power, of cultural appropriation and belonging that happened by altering the meaning, function and contexts of cultural artefacts, monuments have fallen, or have been reimagined as a potential site for unity on public spaces.
Our work questions the assumptions of the value of monuments and the role they play in the process of cultural formation and representation. Conversations about the dynamics of who has agency to even create and make a monument that marks the public space shape some of our references and narratives as individuals. Similarly, we think that true democratisation of cultural spaces can be achieved through the facilitation of platforms where communities are able to take an active role in their representation, which provides in turn a stronger sense of belonging, equality, and civic participation.
As creative practitioners, we make sure that the voice of our communities is heard in cultural spaces by facilitating community-led talks, workshops and discussions that reflect on individual stories and cultural hybridity. While our work centres around respecting the built environment as an expression of our human understanding and collective values, we want to imagine cities as places liberated from systems and cultures of oppression, through possibilities of artmaking.
Through this project, we examine the connection between power and space: What are the narratives that we are shaping, reinforcing and retelling in our current moment, and what are we passing on to the future?
Co-developed with artist Paria Goodarzi and heritage professional Mia Gubbay, the projects develops through a series of workshops with adults and young people.
Unesco RILA Spring School, Glasgow May 2022
Govanhill Baths, Glasgow, spring 2023