It all started during Sarah’s brunch. Soon after a photoshoot named Sorority (siblinghood since non binary coming out), the 9 members of the group talked about the lack of diversity in the Arts. This is how ExtraMuseClub was born, a collective of womxn and non-binary persons of color, with one goal : decolonize the Arts.
First of all, how are you ? The news are really bad, how are you feeling ?
Kim : It depends of what I did during the day, if I was productive. It mostly affects me when I go on Twitter. It’s full of negativity, regarding the news, not so much about the COVID-19 but about the massacre happening in Africa, it’s really hard.
Ben-Vida : I feel good personnally because I have projects that I love. But when I think about our society, in which state it is, it frightens me. I’m scared, I’m angry, I’m in between 2 states : my life and my place in our society.
Souméya : The news are hard, I try to protect myself from too much information when I feel like I’m too sensitive, not ready to face it. I also protect my loved ones, I catch up with them.
Sephora : I’m fine, but when I think about the news, I feel quite hopeless. I can’t see what solutions I can bring. I still try to stay informed and especially to share informations. Nonetheless I try to stay away from violent content because I know that they can hurt me. The Congo situation for example, it hurts me because I’m Congolese, and it saddens me to watch my people hurting.
In a previous interview, you explained what the term “decolonizing the arts” meant to you. But how do we decolonize the arts ?
Kim : I feel like we’re still trying to find the definition of decolonizing the arts. We’re evolving in a world where each get inspired by others, it’s harder to create our own identity. My way of doing it would be different from Sarah’s. It’s a definition we’re still learning every day.
Ben-Vida : We decolonize the arts by letting non-included people to create their vision of it. We give them access to art. As a black woman my vision of art is not the same as a white woman or a white man. Decolonizing the arts is giving it back to us. It’s giving back to the countries of Africa what we took from them during colonization. It’s giving access and giving back what belongs to minorities of color.
Souméya : We decolonize the arts when we promise an equal access to creation and art’s history. We collaborate with creators, we teach… We deconstruct in order to construct better.
How would you describe ExtraMuseClub?
Sarah : It’s a huge patchwork !
Kim : To me, Extramuseclub is a range of sculpture, paint, photos, pottery at the same time realised by several persons who are not fit to do this. It’s a mash-up.
Ben-Vida : To me it’s a safe zone, a place where I’m not afraid of being judged. I know that if I want to bring something I’ll have support.
You’re actually working around photoshoots, do you have other projects o the long run ? If so, could you talk about it ?
Sarah : Soon we will start ExtraTalk. It will be meetings where we’ll discuss a theme. Our first one is “Beliefs and traditional religions croyances before colonization : a lost legacy?”. We’ll do it once a month. Then we’ll try to do an exhibition, it’s not easy at the moment because of COVID-19. And then we’ll create the ExtraTalk Podcast, but for this we’ll wait until next year.
We’re gathered here today for the Euphoria project, can you talk about it ?
Kim : It came from a meeting. I wasn’t feeling included because I don’t feel connected to the definition of “woman” nor “man”, I’m also not non-binary but the way ExtraMuseClub was created I sometimes felt like I wasn’t included in this category of womanhood. It’s how Sarah got the idea to realize the Euphoria Project. Euphoria is the step to move forward to include more people. It’s the witness that we listen to each other and to our community.
Ben-Vida : Sarah brought the project. When I first heard of it I thought of the TV show Euphoria : a glittery world, excitement but also a way to show people you don’t really see in our society, non-binary people, transgender people, it’s more important to my community because they are even less represented. It was a great occasion to change that.
How do you find inspiration ?
Kim : It happens in the middle of the night. When I’m listening to music… I can’t say that it comes from nowhere, because it has to be a mix of images I see, things I read on social media, of what I’d like to be and to do.
Sarah : To me, it’s a lot of Pinterest. I spend my days on it. I really love editorial photos so I read a lot of magazines.
Ben-Vida : I originally write, when I’m searching for inspiration it’s either a need to fill a blank, or a desire to recreate an aesthetic in my style. I write fiction, I’m also trying poetry…
Laura : Each brings her dreams and desires and we talk about it. It can come from a society problem or a simple film but mostly it comes from our life experience. And each brings their touch to every project if they feel connected to it.
Sephora : Personnally I find my inspiration in everything that surrounds me. I feel like the hardest thing to do is to lead the project and not lose hope while making it.
Souméya : We find inspiration thanks to our loved ones and also to the questions that our generation is asking. We leave space for bold ideas, we trust each other so we never censor ourselves.
Anna : It comes from conversations around me. And I think « How are we going to break the mould about this subject ? »
What’s next ?
Anna : What’s next ? Let’s say that you should follow us to discover it.
Sephora : A lot more of projects, collaborations… And mostly, a lot of art !