Cecilia Germain (b. 1974) is an artist based in Uppsala, Sweden. She graduated from Konstfack in 2006 and has since developed an interdisciplinary practice including a variety of media and performances.
In her work, she is concerned with Black Public Health, mourning and healing, colonial economies in relation to plants and the historical role of botanicals for Afro-diasporic identity formation in the Western hemisphere.
Cecilia’s research included a community herbarium, gathering local plant knowledge that was shared within the exhibition, as an ongoing living archive, storing a variety of plants (herbs, seeds, flowers, leaves) and asking: what plant wisdom would you like to store for the future?
The Dream Keeper
6 March – 21 August, 2021
The Dream Keeper, a future-worlding experiment led by Afro-Swedish artist Cecilia Germain, curated by art historian Temi Odumosu. The exhibition draws on a long history of Black radical thought and practice, in order to produce a multidimensional space for “borderless being”. It features a newly commissioned body of works about sleep and its many functions: as a health practice, a political stance against unfair power structures, and as a gateway to access other realms within.
In a series of photos under the collective title Rest and Recovery / Silent Resistance, Cecilia Germain invites us to enter the sleep-world, not as a passive escape, but as a mode of activism and survival technique for combatting the effects of ongoing racialised trauma, in the world, and here in Sweden. Sleep and dreaming are proposed as liminal and borderless experiences that provide access to ancestral wisdom, as well as intuition and other dimensions of meaning. Responding to growing planetary and social uncertainties, Germain’s work explores the possibilities for using artistic practices as both medium and methodology for different modes of healing, as well as imagining alternative futures.
The Dream Keeper opens up a multisensory art experience that moves between different image worlds and plant environments. It is a meeting place for ethnobotanical stories but can also serve as a therapeutic landscape for wayfinding back to inner radical knowledge. It presents photographic works, graphic prints, watercolours, video work, artist books, olfactory pieces and a living plant installation.
A sacred sleep object from the Etnografiska Museet collection is included in the space as an entity that carries further histories, biographical memory maps, and domains of knowledge. There will also be a community herbarium that gathers plant wisdom from the local Fittja community, and thus serves as a “living” situated ethnobotanical archive.
The opening of the exhibition will be the starting point for engagement with other collaborators and the local community, who will extend and reflect on the themes of the exhibition, through public programming which will take place online, in the art space and outdoors.
Exhibition introduction by Temi Odumosu.
Frieze issue 221
Cecilia Germain on the Political Power of Sleep by Matthew Rana:
Död, drömmar och väldoft på Botkyrka konsthall by Birgitta Rubin.
Poetiskt, smärtsamt och helande om Afrika by Karola Modig.
Drömmen om att sova by Valerie Kyeyune Backström.
Etnografiska museet, Grafiska Sällskapets Grafikverkstad, Uppsala Botaniska Trädgård