Events — 1, 2, 3 Jul 2022

The next stop on the journey of sonsbeek 20→24, the international Arnhem-based art manifestation, will be Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. This exhibition brings together three historical artistic positions, that of: Dutch-Jewish painter and composer Sedje Hémon, Afro-Brazilian painter, poet, essayist, dramatist and member of Parliament Abdias Nascimento, and Pakistani artist and designer Imran Mir. On the occasion of the opening weekend, you are invited to several public programs in relation to the exhibition.

Free, reservation required 
Teijn Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
1 Jul 2022, 5 pm until 6.15 pm
2 Jul 2022, 2 pm until 4.30 pm
3 Jul 2022, 11 am until 12 pm
Main language

It cannot be denied that the History of Modern as it has been written has discarded many voices based on their geography, colour, gender, religion, race, abilities and sexuality. Behind the huge concept of universality stands a singular definition of modernism. All the while, modernism knows multiplicity well, a knowledge founded on actual stories of extraction from undesired bodies, cultures and territories where supposedly there was no existence of a legitimate knowledge.

Building in continuation with the exhibition, this series of talks will bring together artists, friends and companions, curators, caretakers of the estates to deconstruct and complicate the understanding of modernism through the work of Sedje Hémon, Abdias Nascimento and Imran Mir. They will collectivelly address politics of time and history, notions of symbolism and abstraction, fluidity and rationality, languages, cultures and identity not in duality but in transition, in relationship with, looking into how each of their positions alternatives and options of ways of thinking and being with art and through art in the world.

“wata go leave stone” on Abdias Nascimento

Location: Teijin Auditorium
Time: 17.00 to 18.15pm
Date: July 1 2022

Afterwars, you are more than welcome to join DWARS DOOR HET STEDELIJK - AFTER SIX.

The title of this conversation comes from Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung’s essay Abdias do Nascimento: Being an Event of Love. In the essay Bonaventure proposes to think of Abdias do Nascimento’s oeuvre and life as a stone that on the one hand represents continuity and the other hand stability. The expression comes from a Cameroonian pidgin sentence which translates as “water flows past the stone and the stone is still there” and is a response to the question: How are you doing?

“wata go leave stone” talks about the powerful and undeniable historical importance of Abdias do Nascimento who contributed to passing ways of being in the world from Africa epistemologies to different generations through multiple artistic forms and to the political and to the liberation of afro descendants especially in Brazil withstanding all the violent currents.


Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD (born in 1977 in Yaoundé, Cameroon) is a curator, author and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and is the artistic director of sonsbeek20–24, a quadrennial contemporary art exhibition in Arnhem, the Netherlands. He is artistic director of the 13th Bamako Encounters 2022, a biennale for African photography in Mali. Ndikung was the curator-at-large for Adam Szymczyk's Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany in 2017; a guest curator of the Dak’Art biennale in Dakar, Senegal in 2018; as well as artistic director of the 12th Bamako Encounters in 2019. Together with the Miracle Workers Collective, he curated the Finland Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019.He was a recipient of the first OCAD University International Curators Residency fellowship in Toronto in 2020. He is currently a professor in the Spatial Strategies MA program at the Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin. From 2023 he will take on the role of Director at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin.

Elisa Larkin Nasicmento

Elisa Larkin Nasicmento is a social scientist with a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of São Paulo and graduate degrees in Law and in Social Sciences from the State University of New York. She has authored and edited publications that are references for teaching African and African Brazilian history and culture. As director of IPEAFRO, she coordinates the preparation of Abdias Nascimento’s archives and artistic collections for online consultation and serves as curator of exhibitions and seminars for educators, artists, and anti-racist activists.

Aude Christel Mgba

Aude Christel Mgba is an independent curator and art historian based between the Netherlands and Cameroon. She was a participant of the De Appel 2018/19 curatorial Program. In 2017, Aude worked as an assistant curator for the SUD2017, an international triennial of art in the public space, organized by doual’art, a center for contemporary art, for the city of Douala. She is a member of the Madrassa Collective, a group of eight curators from Africa, Middle East and Europe. She is co-curator of sonsbeek20->24 exhibition, an international exhibition in the city of Arnhem.

Abdias Nascimento, Afro Standard, Acrylic on Canvas, 84 x 54cm, Rio de Janeiro, 1993. Collection: Abdias Nascimento/Black Art Museum/IPEAFRO Collection. Photo: Miguel Pacheco e Chaves, RCS Arte Digital
Imran Mir, Eighth Paper on Modern Art, Acrylic on Canvas, 183 x 154cm, 1996. Collection: Imran Mir Art Foundation.

‘Thinking in relationships’ on Imran Mir

Location: Auditorium, Stedelijk
Time: 14.00 to 15.15pm
Date: July 2 2022

The title "Thinking in relationships" is a quote from lászló moholy-nagy that was taken from one of the writing contributions for the reader around the work and oeuvre of Imran Mir. In her essay, Natasha Ginwala describes the necessity of thinking the relationship between geometry and perspective constant in the work of Imran, beyond the clasp of Euclidean geometry that defined limits of the Western imagination. Imran Mir's work is itself a navigation within, between, through different worlds that translates to a natural refusal to be limited to any specific medium. How can abstraction be a methodology in excavating new entryways into primary concepts?


Nighat Mir

Nighat Mir holds a Masters in International Relations, class of 1973, majoring in Far and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Karachi. She is a creative director and a writer who contributed to various periodicals through most of her career (1974 to date). In 1987 she set up the advertising and design agency The CircuitFCB with her late husband, Imran Mir. A project that ran until 2016. She is the Founding Managing Editor of quarterly journal ‘Third Text Asia’ offering critical perspectives on contemporary art and culture, published from Karachi, an off shoot of The Third Text founded by artist/activist Rasheed Araeen (2004-2009). She published and co-edited two publications, a monograph ‘Dimensions of the Illimitable’ in 2005 and ‘ What you see is what you see. The Life and Art of Imran Mir’, in 2014. She is one of the Founders of Pakistan’s premier art school, the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture and served thrice on its Board of Governors. From 2005 until 2011 she set up and ran the Foundation of Museum of Modern Art Centre as it’s director. She is the Chairperson of Imran Mir Art Foundation and chief coordinator of the Imran Mir Art Prize since 2015 to date. Nighat has two sons, Gibran and Kenan; she currently lives in Karachi.

Zippora Elders

Zippora Elders
(1986) is chief curator (head of curatorial department & outreach) at the Gropius Bau in Berlin. Until recently she was director of Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen in the Netherlands, a heritage site that she since 2016 has led as a retreat for contemporary art and ecological exchange under the themes of science fiction and enchantment, healing, fertility. Previously she was curator at Foam, museum for photography in Amsterdam. Zippora studied art history and museum curating with philosophy and public administration. Besides making exhibitions, she works as a writer, editor and (guest) teacher, and holds several advisory and supervisory positions. She is cocurator for sonsbeek20→24.

Hajra Haider Karrar

Hajra Haider Karrar is invested in articulating questions that recognize and reconfigure the colonial and capital epistemes that lay at the foundations of contemporary art production and representation. She often works with female artistic practices navigating socio-political and urban infrastructures in the transitory landscape of South Asian cities joining in the collective attempt to create a space for underrepresented themes that portray alternative narratives. Her curatorial and collaborative works have been shown in Europe, South Asia, Central Asia, and Russia.


Javairia Shahid is a trustee of the Imran Mir Art Foundation. She teaches and learns, at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She is currently re-learning the politics of archival work and care-giving as method.

‘Every definition is a restriction on freedom.’ on Sedje Hémon

Location: Auditorium, Stedelijk
Time: 15.15 to 16.30pm
Date: July 2 2022

“Every definition is a restriction on freedom" comes from a quote by Sedje Hémon in the essay Music, Painting, Intuition and Calculation/ Sedje Hémon and the Stedelijk Museum by Maurice Rummens, with the assistance of Claire van Els. This sentence translates the complexity of Sedje's work navigating among representation using abstraction and representation using the sonic but also how the journey among two Languages that has been thought are separated give birth to a world itself. Every tentative to grasp Sedje's work transforms into a repetition of multiple passages between both languages creating a non linear space where translation becomes a mode and it's not anymore a literal deconstruction for the understanding of the reader but a constant creation of new meanings.


Krista Jantowski

Krista Jantowski (1986) runs WALTER books, a bookshop, hang out and reading room located in Arnhem (NL). Ever since opening its doors in 2016, WALTER books is open five days a week for conversation, (collective) reading, and gossip, centering conviviality and hosting its institutional and not-so-institutional partners, centralizing publicness. She works as an organizer, host and curator.

Claire van Els

Claire van Els is an art historian and curator at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. She assisted sonsbeek20→24 in the making of the exhibition Sedje Hemon. Imran Mir. Abdias Nascimento. Abstracting Parables at the Stedelijk.

Romy Rüegger

Romy Rüegger is an artist and writer, living several pasts. Her research based artistic work generates images, texts, movements and sounds, often as collaborative structures and platforms. Through feminist lenses, her work focuses on questions of history, shared resources and voices that shape our present and our imaginations. Interested in artistic knowledge production as forms of resistance and survival, she currently focuses on histories of non-settled ways of living and working within Europe. On the invitation of sonsbeek20→24 she co-researched the life and work of artist, musician, composer, educator, activist and survivor of the Shoa, Sedje Hémon with artistic, dialogical and anti-pedagogical means.

Sedje Hémon, Fête, Oil on Canvas, 93 x 77cm, 1957. Collection: Sedje Hémon Foundation. Photo: Marjon Gemmeke

Parasite Radio 

In the middle of the exhibition’s circuit Abstracting Parables offers a Contextualization Room. Here, artistic fragments of the three artists are interlinked, to show how they are connected through overarching themes such as resistance, cosmos, and sound. Also situated here is Parasite Radio, sonsbeek20→24’s broadcasting program in the (digital) ether. 

On July 3rd, you can join the sonsbeek20→ 24 curators to dig deeper into Abstracting Parables.
Find us in the contextualisation room, inside the exhibitions Abstracting Parables from 11.00 on 3rd July in the exhibition spaces Abstracting Parables or listen in online

Parasite Radio activates the (digital) ether as a possible exhibition space, as well as a hang-out, situating sound and oral cultures across histories, languages, and geographies. sonsbeek20→24 presents radio as a methodology that searches, listens, travels, hosts, and guests from different sites, both online, offline, and hybridly, from Arnhem, elsewhere in Europe, and the world. Connected to sonsbeek20→24’s main topic of concern, Parasite Radio looks into labor and the sonic, documenting and narrating the different layers and entangled relations between them, and their manifestations in the past, present, and future. Parasite Radio attempts to open-up the sometimes classed and limiting boundaries around intergenerational, accessibility-driven dialogic and communal practices by bringing together exhibition visitors and other audiences, spanning all ages, from migrants, undocumented or otherwise, to the sedentary, both non-workers and workers of all métiers alike. Echoing scholar Robin D.G. Kelley, Parasite Radio aims to “step into the complicated maze of experience that renders ‘ordinary’ folks so extraordinarily multifaceted, diverse, and complicated”. Join us for live, on-site programming every other Sunday for the duration of the exhibition.

Sedje Hemon. Imran Mir. Abdias Nascimento. Abstracting Parables is curated by Amal Alhaag and Aude Christel Mgba with the support of Zippora Elders, Krista Jantowski and Stedelijk curator Claire van Els, under the artistic direction of Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung for sonsbeek20→24 and Rein Wolfs for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

The exhibition is framed within the quadrennial sonsbeek20→24 “Force Times Distance: On Labour and Its Sonic Ecologies”, Arnhem, the Netherlands.The exhibition is developed in partnership with the Sedje Hémon Foundation, Afro-Brazilian Studies and Research Institute (IPEAFRO) and the Imran Mir Art Foundation.The exhibition is a joint partnership between Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Stichting Sonsbeek.

By expanding its time frame until 2024 and initiating a deceleration process, sonsbeek20→24 stages a continuous public and educational program choreographed at different scales that will include a series of demonstrations, events, lectures, workshops, performances, and listening sessions. sonsbeek20→24 is committed to establishing long-term relations between artists and their practices, local communities and institutions, as well as different public sites and their everyday visitors.The curatorial framework of sonsbeek20→24, centered around labor and its sonicities, connects a millenary history crossing times and geographies to the present moment, through a multitude of voices, sounds, and ripples. It invites us to listen to the sounds relegated to the “edges” of the “main” motive, to the whispered stories, to those passed through singing and through storytelling, and embodied narratives. An edition that inhabits the absence from the dominant image. An edition that draws particular attention to that which has been written otherwise—in singing, playing, performing, dancing, caring, in polyphonic rhythms and multiple motherless-tongues thanks to which memories, traditions, spiritualities, entire cosmologies crossed oceans and deserts. This edition aims to reveal the complex labor relations and inequalities that show who is (un)seen, who is (in)dispensable, who is seemingly worth our applause, and who is fawningly silent.