The Trembling Museum
2 December 2023–19 May 2024
Hunterian Art Gallery
In this new exhibition, filmmaker and scholar Manthia Diawara and art historian and curator Terri Geis collaborate with The Hunterian to create an exhibition that showcases and reinterprets our collection of African art.
Taking works out of the ‘ethnography’ section of our museum store and displaying them alongside contemporary artworks in the Hunterian Art Gallery, The Trembling Museum asks questions about how African art has been classified in Western institutions and how it can be understood differently.
Drawing on the ideas of Martinican poet and thinker Édouard Glissant (1928–2011) and particularly his concept of ‘trembling with the world’, the show connects diverse historical and contemporary material from The Hunterian collection and beyond.
Glissant set out an influential view of European and African cultures seen through the lens of the colonial history of the Caribbean. He called for a ‘relational’ understanding of the world’s complexity, in contrast to a search for fixed identities or the prevailing idea of monocultural origins.
He also advocated for ’trembling thought’ that is in touch with the natural world and with the opacity of other cultures or individuals. If African art can embody a ‘trembling with the world’, can the museum tremble too? Can it create relationships between objects, artworks and histories, rather than impose categories?
The Trembling Museum also features a programme of special events including performances, music and talks.