WE DEY means WE ARE*
In 2013, we – Sunanda Mesquita and Amoako Boafo – saw the necessity to search for a community for and by Black, Indigenous and People of Color artists, a space to connect, to network, to discuss strategies, and empower each other. WE DEY– platform for contemporary arts — was found and awarded with the kültüř gemma! scholarship of the city Vienna in 2014. In 2016 Jaqueline Ejiji became a crucial member, Sushila Mesquita and Esther Abiona Ojo joined in.
In 2017, WE DEY x space found a home at Kandlgasse 24 in the 7th district as a self – organised art space in Vienna dedicated to amplify the art and culture production of Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color.
WE DEY X SPACE aimed to change the uneven power structure within the Viennese art scene by creating a self-organised art space in which BIPoC artists are able to show their works in a self-determined way, centring marginalised voices, perspectives, knowledge(s) and experiences from different Diasporas.
With almost no institutional funding WE DEY x space hosted over 70 exhibitions, workshops, kitchen table talks and film screenings around the topics of decolonial art production, community, self-care and empowerment. With the support of our communities and our collective members, x space was kept running, paid travel expenses, production costs and small fees for artists & guests who took part in the events, exhibitions, residencies.
Shortly before the global pandemic WE DEY shifted it’s work away from exhibitions towards shared studio spaces, barber pop-ups and WE DEY healing in residency. By deepening the focus on individual and collective healing for BIPoCs while organising, hosting and inviting local and international QTI/BIPoC healers, body practitioners and teachers.
Beginning of 2022, after giving it a lot of thought we decided to close the chapter of WE DEY. Our lease ended and with the co- founders @amoakoboafo and @jayeyeye off to greener pastures and adventures, @decolonial_joy re-turning to Ayurvedic knowledge and QTI/BIPoC wellbeing we see this ending as a way to make space for new beginnings and projects! We are working on a publication that will bring together and highlight all the beautiful and powerful events, exhibitions, healing spaces and art workshops that took place since WE DEY’s birth in 2013. We thank all of you who supported us all these years, who came to the events, who redistributed funds, who facilitated, exhibited, who danced, celebrated and held this precious space with us.
* in pidgin – an appropriation of the colonial language english which is spoken in former British colonies such as Ghana, Nigeria and by the West African diaspora both on the continent and living abroad.