The Weissensee Academy of Art Berlin and the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) will start a cultural exchange as part of an artistic research on climate change, post-colonial participation and media communication.
To kick off, Prof. Meitaka Kendall-Lekka will report on video conferences about today’s life on the atolls of the Republic. From autumn 2020 she will work as a professor in Weißensee and oversee the DAAD-funded project of the art college.
The European ideas of areas like the Marshall Islands (in the wider sense Micronesia) still consist of tourist visions of pristine beaches and indigenous cultures. Paul Gauguin’s 19th-century paintings in Polynesia are being increasingly critically commented on, but still they fill the exhibitions and box offices of renowned museums and they spread a questionable, outdated picture ethic.
The fact is that the Pacific Atolls and Islands are living environments that suffer on the one hand from their colonial and postcolonial history (until 1914 they were a German colony) and on the other hand they are severely affected by climate change. These realities must finally be taken as a basis for contemporary art development. For artistic practice it is important to blend into each other social interaction (e.g. through media), the connection of useless with necessary materializations, the hyper objects, as well as the exploration of digital capitalism and thus try out social models between utopia and dystopia realistically.
Such a connection is made possible by the direct discussion in the project. Cooperation with the Humboldt Forum is also planned in the course of the project.
Students of the College of the Marshall Islands and of Weissensee Academy of Art Berlin can be part of this enthralling project. Please write an email to email@example.com to become part of MI-CC.
Méitaka Kendall-Lekka, born in Majuro in 1983, belongs to the Rimwejoor, clan “Jowi”. She has been a professor and chairperson since 2014 of the Chair of Business Studies Department at the College of Marshall Island, Majuro. She holds an MBA from Chaminade University of Honolulu, and is a PhD candidate in Creative Leadership for Innovation and Change at the University of U.S. Virgin Islands, St.Thomas US Virgin Islands. In addition to dealing with internet-based learning and teaching, Ms. Kendall-Lekka is an active member several NGOs, such as Jo-Jikum, who is very active in climate protection. In 2019 she received the “Young Pacific Leaders” – Award for your political / cultural engagement. In February 2019 she represented the President of the Marshall Islands, Hilde Heine, with the mock session of the YPL climate change program at the Pacific Island Forum in Suva, Fiji. She is married and has a child.
Featured video for the upcoming MI-CC session: Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (RMI) and Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) performing “Rise: From One Island to Another.” More information you find on the project’s website here.