MY NAME IS NO-BODY - Teddy Mazina

How can the colonial photo archive help us understand the persistence of ethno-racial stereotypes?

On the occasion of 125/5 years, the museum selected several proposals from individuals and organizations from the African diaspora in Belgium. Teddy Mazina presents his project.

Message from the Director General, Bart Ouvry

With the project MY NAME IS NO-BODY, Teddy Mazina takes a critical look at the photographic archives and their labels, the bias of the shots taken during the various photographic missions in Congo, Ruanda-Urundi, the language, the choice of words in their descriptions and their destinations. 

Teddy Mazina questions colonial photographic representations of Africa, Africans and non-Europeans, such as the depiction of absolute differences, of radical otherness, of incomplete beings, of bodies without subjects, of ‘impossible subjectifications’. Beings who are necessarily deprived of something, and repeatedly so in labels: NAMES.

MY NAME IS NO-BODY is a video projection of a selection of labels and images from the AfricaMuseum’s colonial photo library. 
In an interview, historian Maarten Couttenier presents the history and motivations behind colonial photo missions, the fascination with certain subjects and population groups, and the reasons for the recurring and often total absence of the names of those photographed.

The video will be projected throughout October 2023 and will be accompanied by encounters with the public: 
- Presentation of the project by the artist Teddy Mazina
- Debates with AfricaMuseum researchers on representations, the history of colonial photographic missions, and the absurdity of the content of certain labels.
- Live reading of labels from the colonial photo library.

Teddy Mazina, born in Burundi, is a photojournalist and art photographer now living in exile in Belgium. He describes himself as an ‘artivist photographer’ who creates to understand and challenge ethno-racial stereotypes inherited from colonial images and propaganda.

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