Jeannette Ehlers

The Gaze
HD video – single-channel
7:30 mins

“I am here, because you were there.”
Immigrant and minority communities the world over find their roots in the legacy of colonial empire built directly upon war, displacement, and slavery perpetrated by cultures of the Global North. As we watch this video performance by Ehlers, a Danish-Trinidadian artist, we are watched in turn; a confrontation as well as inversion emerges between the gaze of the viewer and the viewed. At one point the phrase, “I am here, because you were there” (from the writings of activist A. Sivanandan) offers a historically-layered response to the unwelcoming gaze felt by immigrants of color from white Europeans. Looking, glaring, staring—a gaze returned, with the potential to decolonize.

Concept: Jeannette Ehlers
Cast: Amri, Camara, Jafar, Jeannette, Longin, Marie-Lydie, Mary, Michael, Nina, Seif Nasa, Sena, Shakira, Timothy, Zohra
Photographer: Delmar Mavignier
Sound: Lamin Fofana

Courtesy of the artist.