The Dream Keeper
Cecilia Germain
Curator: Temi Odumosu
6 March – 21 August, 2021
Botkyrka Konsthall

Online opening on Saturday 6 March, 12.00. Introduction by Cecilia Germain, Temi Odumosu and Botkyrka Konsthall. Live-stream on Facebook and Instagram. The exhibition is open to the public from 9 March to 21 August.

Botkyrka Konsthall proudly presents The Dream Keeper, a future-worlding experiment led by Afro-Swedish artist Cecilia Germain, curated by art historian Temi Odumosu.

The exhibition draws on a long history of Black radical thought and practice, in order to produce a multidimensional space for “borderless being”. It features a newly commissioned body of works about sleep and its many functions: as a health practice, a political stance against unfair power structures, and as a gateway to access other realms within.

In a series of photos under the collective title Rest and Recovery / Silent Resistance, Cecilia Germain invites us to enter the sleep-world, not as a passive escape, but as a mode of activism and survival technique for combatting the effects of ongoing racialised trauma, in the world, and here in Sweden. Sleep and dreaming are proposed as liminal and borderless experiences that provide access to ancestral wisdom, as well as intuition and other dimensions of meaning. Responding to growing planetary and social uncertainties, Germain’s work explores the possibilities for using artistic practices as both medium and methodology for different modes of healing, as well as imagining alternative futures.

The Dream Keeper opens up a multisensory art experience that moves between different image worlds and plant environments. It is a meeting place for ethnobotanical stories but can also serve as a therapeutic landscape for wayfinding back to inner radical knowledge. It will include photographic works, graphic prints, water colours, video work, artist books, olfactory pieces and a living plant installation. A sacred sleep object from the Etnografiska Museet collection will be included in the space as an entity that carries further histories, biographical memory maps, and domains of knowledge. There will also be a community herbarium that gathers plant wisdom from the local Fittja community, and thus serves as a “living” situated ethnobotanical archive.

The opening of the exhibition in March will be the starting point for engagement with other collaborators and the local community, who will extend and reflect on the themes of the exhibition, through public programming which will take place online, in the art space and outdoors. We would like everyone to enjoy a safe art experience and are only admitting 5 visitors at the time and are providing facemasks and hand sanitizer.

Cecilia Germain “Our Blood in the Ocean / Remembering Ancestors” watercolour (2021)
Cecilia Germain “Rest and Recover / Silent Resistance” photography (2020)

Cecilia Germain (b. 1974) is an artist based in Uppsala. She graduated from Konstfack in 2006 and has since developed an interdisciplinary practice including a variety of media and performances. In her work, she is concerned with Black Public Health, mourning and healing, colonial economies in relation to plants and the historical role of botanicals for Afro-diasporic identity formation in the Western hemisphere. She is currently part of the art projects Skogen mellan oss that is presented in various locations through Sweden and Botandets iver (The urge to cure) together with Maja Hammarén and other artists. She will also participate at the upcoming Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA). The Dream Keeper is her first solo exhibition.

Temi Odumosu

is an art historian, curator, and senior lecturer in cultural studies at Malmö University. She is author of the award-winning book Africans in English Caricature 1769-1819: Black Jokes White Humour (2017). Her research interests include colonial visual cultures, archival praxis, postmemorial art and performance, and ethics-of-care in representation. Overall, she is focused on the multitude ways art can mediate social transformation and healing. She is currently a member of the research network The Art of Nordic Colonialism: Writing Transcultural Art Histories, funded by Carlsberg Foundation.

Botkyrka konsthall is a centre for contemporary art located in the neighbourhood of Fittja, in the municipality of Botkyrka. In 2016, the international residency programme Residence Botkyrka hosted Temi Odumosu as a curator/researcher-in-residence, and through the multimedia project Milk & Honey she explored how local heritage archives could activate global crosscurrents, through themes of memory, identity and belonging. Since the summer of 2020, both Temi Odumosu and Cecilia Germain have been in Residence Botkyrka (physically and virtually) to collaborate on the exhibition The Dream Keeper.

The Dream Keeper graphic design by Johnny Chang.