At the centre of the exhibition is Naeem Mohaiemen’s (b. 1969) acclaimed film Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017), which meticulously weaves together both archival footage and new shots with the narration of historian Vijay Prashad (b. 1967), to articulate the momentum and solidarity of the NAM’s leftist ideologies and unravel the complexities behind its unfortunate failure.
Other works in the exhibition look further back from this historic moment to address the imprint of colonial repression and dispossession, as well as the ways in which imperial powers have exerted control through epistemic structures, such as political mapping and language. Through the works of artists from varied geographies and diasporas, the exhibition also points to the challenges of independence and the postcolonial condition. As the first President of Indonesia, Ahmed Sukarno (1901–1970) warned in his opening speech to the attendees of the Bandung Conference: ‘Colonialism has also its modern dress, in the form of economic control, intellectual control…. It is a skilful and determined enemy, and it appears in many guises.’