From the video description (emphasis mine):
In the short film Blackboard Frouwkje Smit shows various Africans from south of the Sahara whom she has met in The Netherlands. Smit investigates to what degree these individuals feel themselves uprooted in their new environment and how they deal with that fact. How do they respond to the fact that they are living in a different country, and how do they handle all their experiences and memories from their homeland? Not the persons themselves, but the blackboard tells us the story of these Africans. Their stories come to life on the blackboard; the words and pictures are represented, written, wiped away and immortalized.
In her website, Smit describes this blackboard thustly:
For my graduation project (2008), I created Blackboard, a chalkboard that serves as a universal means of communication.
“Africans” who do not tell their stories and instead, the blackboard, created, provided and filmed by a white, Dutch artist does so on their behalf. And notice the way these unidentified “Africans” are portrayed drawing, while the colonial gaze speaks for them.
And I just gotta love her wording: “how do they respond to the fact that they are living in a different country?” as if she was poking them with a stick and documenting how this Other responds to the stimulus, or as if she had “informed” them of this ground breaking news that this is not “home”.
And in case you thought this is just juvenile colonialism and she might have corrected her ways, I direct you to her current art project, where she brought a piano to Bonaire so that locals can make music while she films them in the name of “art”.
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