INES DOUJAK solo show: Every Courageous Life Is a Song to the Future


Artists:  Ines Doujak

Curators: Mateusz Okonski and Aneta Rostkowska

In solidarity with land defenders

The main inspiration for artworks shown in the exhibition is the heroic engagement of women land defenders from all over the world—activists who work to protect ecosystems and the human right to a safe and healthy environment. They are the ones facing the acceleration of the land grab with all its horrific effects: the disruption of working economies, monoculture farming, the destruction of the soil and diversity, and climate change. Many of these defenders, who have a sense of responsibility for a common future, are members of Indigenous communities in the Global South who try to protect their ancestral lands. Many are of older age, rather than younger people with “lives ahead of them.”

Contrary to what you might expect, the exhibition does not refer to the activist struggles in a direct, documentary way. It operates on another level, by returning to the sphere of the symbolic. The political inspiration translates here into a captivating, sensual environment drawing from different
aesthetic and cultural traditions.

The central element of the exhibition was an artistic parade in public space of Cologne on Saturday 28.10 called “The most beautiful women are the women of the revolution”, the goal of which was to express solidarity with women land defenders from all over the world. In the weeks after the exhibition opening, the space will hosted a series of meetings and workshops leading to this joint action.


Curatorial statement (an abstract)

In the last space in the exhibition, the topics of healing and hope continue, this time in the form of an invitation to more communal forms of action. The room contains a set of objects to be used during an artistic event in public space at the end of October this year, the goal of which is to express solidarity with women land defenders from all over the world. Flags, costumes, a cart, a song, benches on which to sit and talk – all of them fulfil a specific function in the process of preparing and conducting the event. Activist Jakeline Romero Epiayú, artist Camilo Pachón and curator Luiza Proença will contribute to the procession. The event is an act of internationalist solidarity based on the recognition that protecting the environment is inseparably related to political struggles against (post)colonial
domination, structural racism, and misogynistic practices. Windows in red, yellow and blue filter the light and invoke a notion of potentiality again, as by mixing these three, many different colours can be achieved. A figure of a screaming woman on a goat expresses anger and readiness to take power. Is
this a land activist or perhaps an emanation of the Skywoman herself that has descended into the space of the CCA Temporary Gallery to support the cause? In either case, a formidable spirit is invoked here, and you are invited to support it!


Artist’s statement (an abstract)

“Women provide most of the labour on the land in many parts of the world and are responsible for family food security. Despite this they face systemic discrimination in terms of their access to, ownership of and control of land, and the income that arises from its productive use. A lot of them are
Indigenous who live on 25% of the planet’s land, which is home to 80% of its diverse array of plant and animal life. Not obsessed with capital accumulation, they cause a minute amount of the earth-killing greenhouse gases but in return are categorized as ‘backward’ and thus not entitled to rights. Their land is constantly lost to soya farming and the cows that make beef for the export business. Women, especially Indigenous women, are particularly vulnerable to environmental-related violence, which
largely goes unnoticed.

Many women activists were murdered for defending community land and environmental rights and an even larger number face threats, intimidation, rape, torture and/or imprisonment. The most responsible for this systemic violence are politicians, military or security personnel. Many environmental defenders are increasingly branded as ‘terrorists’ for the simple act of peacefully defending their lands and territory. With the global turn toward
authoritarianism, women are at the wrong end of the power spectrum.”


Exhibition views by Simon Vogel.

With the kind support of:

Kunststiftung des Bundes
Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
Die Beauftrage der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
Kulturamt der Stadt Köln
Republic of Austria
Deltax Contemporary
Hotel Chelsea