2020 Monument Lab Fellow Sergio Beltrán-García writes about the first phase of his onoing project The Dispersed Memorial, a response to a form of mnemonic violence whereby governments artificially hike the political and economic costs of memorial construction, thus denying victims of human rights violations their right to memory. Though the design and deployment of a limited number of small-scale prototypes, Beltrán-García challenges who traditionally has access to and creates public memory.
Monument Lab Fellow Thalia Fernández Bustamante writes about the impact COVID-19 has had on Indigenous communities in Mexico and the challenges they are currently facing. Bustamante delves deeper into how Indigenous medicinal practices preserve, elevate, and honor ancestral land, culture, flora, and ways of living. She challenges the reader to critically think about the knowledge Indigenous communities possess and how this could aid in healing on a physical and spiritual level.
Every year, the streets of Bermuda fill with the sweet dance of the gombeys—folk dancers who have come to symbolize Black resistance, identity, and heritage. Graduate researcher Stephanie Gibson reflects on the performance of the gombeys, and the ways they take up physical, public space as an act of political subversion and joy. The gombey is both a Black tradition and a moving example of performance-as-political strategy, challenging the ghosts of colonial regimes that once regulated Black Bermudian bodies through music and dance.
Monument Lab announces a transformative $4 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant, entitled Beyond the Pedestal: Tracing and Transforming America’s Monuments, will support the production of a definitive audit of the nation’s monuments; the opening of ten Monument Lab field research offices through $1 million of subgrants in 2021; and capacity for Monument Lab to hire its first full-time staff and develop significant art and justice initiatives.