Amanda Newall and Ola Johansson – Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts, Lancaster
(Mis)Tanzania is a site-specific tableaux vivant that allows intercultural time, space, and objects to pass through the appearance of the artist. By instantiating the work in Dar es Salaam, right outside a colonial property on Upanga Street, the found site-specific objects, make-up and clothes, which are authentic but not traditional, take effect as modifying factors of identity. One of many paradoxes is that the artist behaves like a Maasai “askari” outside the guarded urban property but cannot be a warrior due to her gender. As the work is crafted and documented it comes alive with the gazes and comments from passer-bys, including curious Maasai men. The tableaux expresses an impossible proximity between site and character, and yet a possible way of making visible and thus seeing the intrasubjective fluctuations of contemporary identity in Tanzania. Hence if the proximities in the artwork are enacted in situ, the insecurities of it is in the eyes of the beholder – wherever you are.