Frontex, Colonialism and the White Oppression
Meeting with Daniela Ortiz and Jakub Dymek

  • Frontex, Colonialism and the White Oppression
    Daniela Ortiz, documentation of "White Pavilion", 2016, courtesy of the artist

During the meeting we will explore the gestures of violence and radical resistance that artists employ to face the situation of the refugee crisis, deracination, exclusion and escalating oppression towards immigrants.

Our point of depart will be the work of art by a Peruvian artist Daniela Ortiz shown in the ‘Bread and Roses’ exhibition. The art piece relates to her personal experiences and frustrations stemming from immigration, colonialism and violence. In her ‘White Pavilion’ work, Ortiz gives an account of the industry of illegal migration and institutions of biopolitical control of the phenomenon, such as the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex), with the siege in Warsaw, on the territory of the former Warsaw Ghetto.

For many years, Ortiz has been conducting investigations of human rights infringements committed by Fronted and other bodies regulating the flows of migrants and refugees. She mostly uses internet statistics and documents published in the Internet. The exhibited piece is a white marble bust – a convention used over centuries to flatter the elites. The bust is one of Fabrice Leggeri, the executive director of Frontex. It has been clearly vandalised, though, by Ortiz with a group of immigrants in an outlet of their frustration and helplessness. In this case, violence remains the only weapon and the only radical gesture that the Artist can employ to face the world injustice and the cynicism of the power structures.

In the meeting, hosted by Jakub Dymek, cultural analyst and journalist for Political Critique’s Dziennik Opinii (The Opinion Journal), Daniela Ortiz will talk about her practices that blur the lines between art and activism while taking the perspective of a dispossessed precarious life deprived of its political status and the sense of belonging.

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