Hanni Kamaly


Kungsbro strand 19
April 30–July 18, 2021

Hanni Kamaly, Gadju Okabak Ulrikab Koskimo, 2021, video, color, sound, 30 minutes 22 seconds. Maggak (Margrethe) and her daughter Ane Kathrine.
Hanni Kamaly, Gadju Okabak Ulrikab Koskimo, 2021, video, color, sound, 30 minutes 22 seconds. Maggak (Margrethe) and her daughter Ane Kathrine.

“I can’t remember exactly how we began discussing Indiska, Roxy [Farhat] and I,” artist Hanni Kamaly says at the beginning of one of the four parts of her video work Gadju Okabak Ulrikab Koskimo, 2021, which, together with a series of seven slender sculptures from 2015–21, constitutes her solo exhibition at Index. Having acknowledged the crucial role of kitchen conversations among friends and fellow artists, the video positions Indiska, a Swedish “boomer bohemian” fashion and home-decor store founded in 1901, as a site of ongoing colonial violence through overt cultural appropriation disguised as openness to the world. Tracing the company’s roots to its founder, the Swedish missionary and businesswoman Mathilda Hamilton, Kamaly renders visible the active participation of Scandinavians within the British, French, and German colonial projects. Through the story of Gadju Daniel Sewak, the Indian man who accompanied Hamilton in Sweden, and that of Abraham Ulrikab, a member of the group of Inuits recruited in the 1880s by the Norwegian adventurer Johan Adrian Jacobsen for Carl Hagenbeck’s infamous “ethnographical shows,” the artist centers figures who were historically—or, in the case of the subjects of her sculptures, more recently— subjected to various forms of objectification and oppression. Employing archival images, Kamaly treads the fine line between the erasure of this violent history and its further reproduction through imagery. It is thus her metal sculptures—anthropomorphic yet abstract, crooked yet dignified, and each dedicated to a particular living or deceased person—that propose a convincing alternative to the pitfalls of visual representation.

— Rado Ištok

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