Mirage, 20 Years On


Mirage, 20 Years On was a symposium held at the ICA (London) marking the 20th anniversary of the the groundbreaking exhibition Mirage: Enigmas Of Race, Difference & Desire curated by ICF Creative Director David A. Bailey and organised in partnership with Iniva. The symposium, which took place on 20 October 2015, set out to ask the questions:

‘If the 1995 exhibition marked a moment of considering the importance of Franz Fanon and ways in which his writings on post-colonialism, identity, cinema and psychoanalysis intertwined with artistic practices and race, then what should the contemporary moment reflect upon? Where are we now in relation to structural violence, de-colonising culture and relations, and the power of aesthetics and its explorations of complex formations of racial identities?’


The symposium was organised in three parts:
1. Platforms and the desire for institutional frameworks
2. Networks and circulations of agency and resistance
3. Mediated bodies and the techno-diaspora  

And the speakers included:
Greg de Cuir Jr. (Writer), Evan Ifekoya (Artist), Lyle Ashton Harris (Artist), Allison Thompson (Independent Curator), Morgan Quaintance (Independent Curator), Melanie Keen (Director, Iniva), Yasmina Reggad (Independent Curator) and Osei Bonsu (Independent Curator)

Panel 1 – Platforms and the desire for institutional frameworks

Speakers discuss the possible role of institutions both in upholding structural violence and de-colonising culture, how platforms and institutions have changed since 1995, which changes are necessary for the future and how we might avoid the traps of monoculture and exoticism in representation.

11.30-12.00 Allison Thompson
12.00-12.15 Morgan Quaintance
12.15-12.30 Evan Ifekoya
12.30-13.15 Lyle Ashton Harris
13.15-13.45 Panel discussion

Panel 2 – Networks and circulations of agency in the techno-diaspora

Speakers discuss what a new contemporary internationalism might look like in relation to decolonisation and diasporic networks, how ideas around the need for alliances and collaboration have changed since 1995 and Fanon’s time, and whether we see new models of resistance through affiliations (digital and analogue) emerging in contemporary artistic practice.

14.15-14.30 Yasmina Reggad
14.30-14.45 Osei Bonsu
14.45-15.00 Greg de Cuir Jr
15.00-15.15 Melanie Keen
15.30-16.00 Panel discussion

The symposium was organised by ICF in partnership with ICA, University of the Arts London, the Curating Contemporary Art Programme at the Royal College of Art, Live Art Development Agency and Tiwani Contemporary. Funding and support came from Arts Council England, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research Harvard University and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Download the original programme from the 1995 symposium here