“The Struggle for Freedom in: _________”, (2015) in collaboration with Max Pinckers
This project focuses on the use of images during the Kenyan Emergency that took place between 1952 and 1960. From the Kenyan forests the Land and Freedom Army, that later became known as the Mau Mau, waged a guerrilla war against British colonial authorities and all those who weren’t on their side. The story of this conflict has been told in different ways, each time with its own visual and political representation strategy. Pinckers and Burger found one of these ‘narratives’ in the London Archive of Modern Conflict. Authentic British material portrays the Mau Mau as a violent outburst against modernity. As a group of cannibals and rapists who want to return to some sort of original primitive state. Later Pinckers and Burger collected images and documents in Kenyan archives which tell a different tale whereby the British government confined millions of people to concentration camps, where many were tortured an killed, in an attempt to thwart their ambition of an independent Kenyan state. Pinckers and Burger combine this archive material with recently made and often for the first time documented mass graves, former camps and caves that were used by the Mau Mau during their time in the forest. The Mau Mau themselves, now old men with sticks and women in flowery dresses re-emerge on the scene, starring in re-enactments in which they were asked to act out their side of the story, playing either themselves, or their former opponents.
With the support of :
The Archive of Modern Conflict, UK
Het Mondriaanfonds, NL
Kunsten en Erfgoed / Vlaamse Overheid, BE