In conversation with Parissima Taheri – Maynard
‘Sunanda Mesquita for WE DEY


How would you like to be introduced to someone who doesn’t know you yet?

Hi my name is Parissima, I’m Vienniese, half Bahamian and quarter Iranian 🙂 I’m a minority mental health advocate training in clinical psychology here in Vienna. I am Viennese, I’m a woman of colour.

How would you position yourself within the frame of psychology? Are there projects/community projects/professionals in general that inspire you to do the work you do?

As I mentioned I want to specialise in minority mental health as I think it is a field that does not get enough attention in Austria – in a lack of psychological culturally- sensitive practice as well as in research and theory. I love what Therapy for Black Girls is doing in the USA and it was a big inspiration when I started – a directory of mental health professionals of colour for everyone to find someone they may feel comfortable opening up to. I realised I couldn’t actually find enough mental health professionals of colour in Vienna to actually put on a database, so I decided to create a space for it. I also lead a mental and social health project with young refugees which was my first actual work experience in the field of minority mental health and just pushed my motivation harder. Another experience I made was in a work-placement at an Eating DIsorder Clinic where I work in the diagnostic phase however not in further ongoing treatment. Various women of colour clients particularly asked me if I can be their psychologist for the next part of their treatment, because I “looked like them”. It made me recognise the urge that many of us share to open up to people where we assume they share a general experience with us, even if that’s being a minority in a “white” country. We criticize “colour-blindness” in all forms of society, yet we still accept that psychology in this country is considered to be colour-blind and that filtering professionals by these details is unnecessary. I strongly disagree and want to offer the opportunity to those who may think like me and feel they want or need that.

Can you tell us a little bit about your project “Wir sind auch Wien” – “We too are Vienna”? And what role community plays in your practice in general?

I created Wir sind auch Wien out of the motivation to create a platform for minority mental health for BPOCs in various different forms. It started as a facebook page where I share articles, motivational memes, thoughts, etc. for the community, but will increasingly also offer workshops, lectures and sit downs, etc. for the community to take part in if they want. I want to bring openness about mental health to the community and allow us to bond over something we all have and feel on a spectrum in everyday life. I want to counteract the strong taboo connected to speaking about our mental health and our worries, and provide the knowledge and theory so that everyone can know and understand what they are going through. It is important to me to also collectively decolonise our thinking about psychology, healing and mental health and remember that sharing and healing together is an indigenous key strategy while the idea of having to suffer in silence is something new, learned and dangerous. Within the framework I also want to, and invite others to, add to minority mental health research here in Austria. In the future I also want to supply certified psychological diagnostics and treatment to the community, as well as support bringing more minorities into the field through trainings, internships, etc.

We were really excited to receive your proposal for our Open Call- as we have been talking about mental health for a while and have been discussing the lack of access to BIPoC therapists in Vienna. What sparked your interest in applying for the Open Call at WE DEY x SPACE?

I loved reading the open call and what you are doing. I was looking for something like We Dey for most of my life here in Vienna, so it already spoke to me on that level. I did realise that the focus was mainly on art, however, and due to the fact that I was not an artist I wasn’t sure how to best get involved. Still, I decided why not reach out with my idea. In the worst case you won’t have space for it but will know someone or someplace that might. I was so excited to hear your reaction to my application and how necessary you too found what I was trying to offer. It strengthened my idea so much, feeling that what I was missing was also being missed by other members of the community and would be appreciated.

Can you tell us more about your project “Mental Health and WellBeing as BIPoC in Vienna” which you are planning together with Esther Ojo at WE DEY x space? Is it still open for BIPoCs to join?

My idea was to create a regular meeting with people within the community focused on BPOC mental health – literally in any form desired. We had a first kind of “information evening” session in January and about 15 amazing, open, genuine and authentic BPOCs came ready to start a regular conversation about mental health. I introduced myself and had some surveys and questionnaires that showed really precise trends. Almost all in the group have seeked mental health support before, all are very aware of their own mental health and its struggles, and, luckily, almost all of them claimed they are able to openly speak about their mental health at home with friends or/and family. The results surprised me, this is obviously not a very representative outcome when looking at the whole population, and specifically at minority populations. It’s wonderful to start our first regular sessions with a group that is quite homogenous in its approach to mental health, and who all already have a lot of knowledge and self-reflection. I do hope that after this group more BPOCs get in touch to whom this topic may be more of a burden or who may have more inhibitions concerning speaking about mental health, who perhaps do not have the possibility or the dynamics set up to speak about this in their personal life and who didn’t show up immediately at the first offered opportunity. I hope to reach them too. At the moment we are setting up the first closed group that we seem to have about 15 members for, so unless many don’t take part in the last minute I will not take in any more members, but there will absolutely be more groups so anyone who wants can just facebook message me and I’ll keep them posted.

I really like the idea that the sessions are in a Do-It-Together format and that the participants can actively co-create the circumstances of the sessions -the frequency as well as the content- is that a common form or did you try something new?

The idea came from the fact that I want to come at these mental health circles in an informal way. This is not a replacement to any form of psychological treatment or group therapy and I too have a lot to learn from what the community really requires and needs. I did not want to set up anything just based on what I feel is missing, I wanted to better understand what the community wanted for communal healing and collective care. A lot of our first information meeting was that – discussing options of what we can do with the regular space We Dey was offering us. Within this first group the answers were quite clear and we decided on these mental health circles every 2 weeks for 3 hours with one fixed group that stays the same in order to support trust and care. In a questionnaire that listed various different topics the 10-most-circled topics were chosen as the themes for the 10 sessions. It’s interesting to note that “race related stress” was circled by every single member. I decided to divide that subject into two sessions – external (discrimination, …) and internal (identity, …). It was voted that all sessions will be a mixture of theory provided by me and lots of sharing and discussing experiences and tips to best deal So for this group, thats how this will look! I am excited to hold another information session with new people and determine what context they’d get the most out of.

What´s you approach to creating these spaces of healing across all differences -race, class, experiences, ability, gender identity and sexuality- within the BIPoC community?

One of the highlights of creating Wir sind auch Wien was being invited by the Center of Intersectional Justice in Berlin to their Community Open Space last year. There I was able to meet activists from all over Europe and we created an environment where different people held workshops about topics vital to them and we were able to choose what workshops to take part in. I invited whoever was interested to join a workshop on collective healing, where I was able to speak to a group of people across a range of racial, sexual, socio-economic identities as well as people with different disabilities about what they require to heal collectively on a psychological level. The conversation was incredibly interesting and emotional, and had a great impact in how much I want to underline intersectionality in my work, and how I believe absolutely everyone, no matter what field they work and move around in, should do the same. Just becoming more aware of what people with various overlapping experiences confront and feel is the first step of being able to offer support.

Is there something else you would like to share with us?

Thanks so much for supporting my work and offering me the space to bring my ideas together with the community!!!

Thank you so much! ❤


“Recording Our Histories” by Rudy Loewe
31th of January – 6th of February 2019

We are excited to welcome Rudy Loewe for an one week art residency & solo exhibition at WE DEY x SPACE.



In conversation with Rudy Loewe
Sunanda Mesquita for WE DEY

How would you like to be introduced to someone who doesn’t know you or your art practice yet?

I am a black non binary artist who works with themes such as Diaspora, identities and histories. I am a storyteller. Much of my work is just about finding the best way to tell the story.

How would you position yourself in the art world? Do you feel any connection to current or past people or movements (also outside the art world)?

It’s tricky because in many ways I feel outside of the (white) art world. But at the same time I’ve had a privileged art education so it’s not that simple. I am interested in black artists who are working in different contexts, but sharing some overlapping themes such as cultural identity; gender; sexuality; and histories. The artists or art movements that I feel a connection to is a reflection of those that I in general feel in community with.

What role does community play in your practice and how did you come about connecting both art and community practices?

It was important for me to find a community that reflected my QTIBPOC identity, before it became important to me to think about art community. My relationship to community has been a massive influence on the kinds of work I want to make, so it feels impossible to separate the two.

What were your favourite moments/projects and what difficulties did you come across?

One aspect of my work that I love is getting to work with people, collecting narratives and thinking about how to make them into something visual. There is a challenge in this though. I also have my own subjectivity and agenda, and it’s difficult to separate that and try to think about not letting it influence how I work with other people’s stories.

Can you tell us a little bit about Brown Island and what it was/is all about?

Brown Island is a BPoC student group that I have been part of at Konstfack (an art school) in Stockholm. We created a space for ourselves to critique the institution and also think about what it is that we needed in that environment. We are now continuing the work inside and outside of the institution.

What sparked your interest in applying for the Open Call at WE DEY x SPACE?

The thing that interested me the most was to work in a PoC focused space, organised by PoC. I feel like in a European context, this doesn’t happen very often.

Can you tell us more about your project “Recording our Histories” which you are realising at WE DEY x space?

One ongoing thread in my work is how we collect, document, preserve and edit our histories. I see this as a very political and subjective process. So I want to continue an exploration of how to create a space for oral histories that removes white men as the curators of history. Ideally I would love to have a long ongoing project that created a platform for PoC histories, and predominantly black histories, to take space, in a way that suits the owners of those histories. But this is not something I currently have the resources for! So I am collecting people’s histories at the moment and experimenting with how this can be presented.

fbevent rudy

I really love how you open the discussion to the wider community, can it be read as a strategy to work against reproducing hierarchies within the BIPoC communities and/or deconstructing western notions of experts vs. amateurs?

In my work I think about how the constructors of mainstream history is often coming from white middle class, European men. I want to highlight that history is subjective, and in that we need to collect accounts from as many people as possible. I know that I can’t rely on middle class white men to tell the stories of BIPoC.

Where and how was your work presented before and what did you like about it/ what would you want to be different this time at WE DEY x space? What are your expectations?

My last exhibition was a solo show at Marabouparken in Stockholm. It was great to have a whole space that I could direct the viewer through. An important element to any exhibition I do, is that people feel like they can stay in the space and have a space to discuss.


Thank you so much! ❤




What`s worth fighting for? Which expectations do we have for coalitions? What do we need to build coalitions? What can we do in order to prevent activist burn outs? How can we deal with different experiences, strategies, goals, perspectives, knowledges and expectations within coalitions?

With input from Bernice Johnson Reagon, Audre Lorde, Cathy Cohen ua. in form of short texts, we want to close in on those questions and connect them to our own experiences.

This workshop is for and by Black People and People of Color, there is no participation fee. Please sign up via an email to
Let us know if you need childcare.


Wofür lohnt es sich zu kämpfen? Welche Erwartungen haben wir an Bündnispolitiken? Was brauchen wir, um Bündnisse eingehen und aufrecht erhalten zu können? Worauf müssen wir achten, um nicht im activist burn out zu landen? Wie können wir mit unterschiedlichen Positionierungen, Erfahrungen, Strategien, Zielen, Zugängen, Wissensständen und Erwartungen innerhalb von Bündnissen umgehen?
Anhand von kurzen Textausschnitten (Bernice Johnson Reagon, Audre Lorde, Cathy Cohen ua.) wollen wir uns diesen Fragen annähern und sie mit unseren eigenen Erfahrungen verbinden.
Dieser Workshop richtet sich an Black and People of Color, die Teilnahme ist kostenlos. 

Bitte meldet euch mit einer kurzen Mail an mit Betreff BPoC Workshop Bündnispolitiken an.
Bitte gebt Bescheid, sofern ihr Kinderbetreuung benötigt.

Sushila Mesquita arbeitet und lehrt seit vielen Jahren zu postkolonial-queeren Theorien und intersektionalen Feminismen und ist Teil des we-dey Kollektivs sowie des Beirats von Maiz.

Sunanda Mesquita ist bildende Künstlerin, Community Organiser, Kuratorin und Mitbegründerin von WE DEY x SPACE in Wien. ( In ihrer künstlerischen Praxis konzentriert sie sich auf die Möglichkeiten einer radikalen, utopischen, queeren, feministischen Kollektivität von Schwarzen Menschen und People of Colour und die Themen Community, Solidarität und Zugehörigkeit. Ihre Illustrationen sind unter dem alias @decolonial_killjoy zu finden.

“Recording Our Histories” by Rudy Loewe
31th of January – 6th of February 2019

We are excited to welcome Rudy Loewe for a one weeks art residency & solo exhibition at WE DEY x SPACE.

During their residency Rudy Loewe would like to invite BPoC to be interviewed as part of their exhibition at WE DEY. The focus of the interviews is to document BPoC experiences of an Austrian context. These collected narratives will then be used to build up the exhibition space, over the course of the week. Pieces of the recorded interviews will feature in the exhibition space as part of an audio installation, as well as visual responses being created by Rudy to go alongside this. This is part of a larger body of work that Rudy is creating, questioning in what ways we document, collect and preserve our histories; and how we can take autonomy over this.

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Interview Session: Call for BIPoC interview partners!
31th of January
more infos here:

OPEN STUDIO: open to everyone!
(the artist will be present)
1.2. 3-6pm
2.2 3-6pm
3.2. 3-6pm
4.2. 3-4pm
5.2. 3-6pm

FINISSAGE: open to everyone!
6th of February 6pm -10pm
Accessibility Infos:

X SPACE is accessible via a ramp. The ramp is 76 cm wide and the slope is 9 %. For more information please contact us!
The closest wheelchair accessible toilet is @ Café Oben, Urban-Loritz-Platz. It’s a five minutes distance.

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about WE DEY x space

WE DEY x space is dedicated to amplify the art and culture production for and by Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color

WE DEY x space aims to center marginalised voices, perspectives, knowledges and experiences from different diasporas

WE DEY x space will host exhibitions, workshops, kitchen table talks and film screenings around the topics of decolonial art production, community, self-care, empowerment.

This BIPoC Self Care Day for Women*/Non-Binary/Trans*/Inter/Femmes is in focus of “Mental Health and WellBeing as BIPoC in Vienna” and is hosted by Parissima and WE DEY!

♥ About the session on the 13th of January:

3pm: arriving, getting to know each other

4pm: doors close for session

!! ♥♥Please send an email if you are planning to take part- drop ins are also welcome but its easier for us to prepare if we know how many want to come for sure!

!! ♥♥please be here before 4pm as we will start the session at 4pm sharp

♥ We begin the get-to-gether at the SelfCare Day on the 13th of January with focus on mental health for BIPoC in Vienna. In terms of gender/sexual orientation/etc. we will follow the invitation policy of the SelfCare Day, however the focus will be on racial identity rather than sexual identity (even though we are well aware all forms of identity are interlinked). We plan to sit in a trusting circle with you all and have a conversation about the general feeling of racial identity and inclusion in Vienna as a BIPoC, but also about access to the local mental health sector – what may be missing, what would help us find what we need, who would we go to, to feel understood, etc. We would like to discuss possible futures together!

Possibile futures: Do-it-together format

Depending on the ideas and needs of the group that are discussed during the selfcare day, one possibility would be to organise continuous (perhaps every 2 weeks) group sessions for a group of BIPoC (perhaps 6-10 people per group, that remain the same for a semester for

example) to provide a safe space to discuss mental health topics for PoC, reflect

together, exchange experiences, feel supported, and promote ideas of self love and

care. Or singular events focusing on specific topics such as f.e. depression, anxiety, self care, experiences of racialisation, social media overflow, preparation for the (family) holidays etc.

These events can be offered in german and/or english

♥ About Parissima:

I’m a social scientist with a focused on cultural, racial, physical, political and sexual identity in our life. I studied my BA in Social Anthropology at SOAS, did my MA in Psychoanalytic Studies at the TavistockClinic (both in London), and am now doing my MSc in Clinical Psychology at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna.

My attention to mental stability and the promotion of self love has been present in my training on a theoretic level and within myself on a personal level. My content is a mixture of my professional training from an anthropological and psychological perspective, as well as my own experiences as a mixed race, Austrian PoC trying to bathe myself in self generosity to counteract anxiety and past panic attacks.

This BIPoC Self Care Day for Women*/Non-Binary/Trans*/Inter/Femmes is in focus of “Mental Health and WellBeing as BIPoC in Vienna” and is realised as part of the WE DEY Open Call for proposals.


We aim to create a space of support for and by women*/non-binary/trans*/inter/femmes. A space to connect to each other, to get to know each other better, to work on alliances and future projects. A space that allows us to think and voice our needs and wishes/visions.♥


To our invitation policy:

These events are specifically for Black/Brown/of Color Women*/Non-Binary/Trans*/Inter/Femmes! Please don’t assume anyones gender identity or pronouns – ask everyone for their preferred pronouns.

Cis Men (means men who were assigned male at birth and identify with it) and white people are not invited to our BPoC SelfCare Sundays.

♥ If you want to support WE DEY, please do that by supporting us financially and coming to events which are open to the public ♥

X SPACE is accessible via a ramp. The ramp is 76 cm wide and the slope is 9 %. For more information please contact us!

The closest wheelchair accessible toilet is @ Café Oben, Urban-Loritz-Platz. It’s a five minutes distance.

“to (for)get resistance” by Lydia Nsiah
7th – 15th of December 2018

In her solo show, entitled “to forget resistance” and made possible by the Kültür gemma Fellowship, Lydia Nsiah restages the „Queer/ Trans*/ Inter/ Black People/ People of Color Resistance“ – Archive of WE DEY x SPACE. Based upon her work series to forget (2017–ongoing) remembering and forgetting enter into a mutual dialogue.

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7th of December at 6pm
Dj Shayma
opening time with Lydia Nsiah
13th of December: 6pm-9pm
15th of December: 4pm-9pm

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Lydia Nsiah lives and works in Vienna, and abroad. Holding MAs in Fine Arts, in Film and Media Studies, she studied in Vienna, Berlin, Montreal and Amsterdam. Currently she is a PhD candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. As artist and researcher she deals with the in-betweens and gaps in media and knowledge production by juxtaposing film, photography, text and installation. Her works incorporate and transform found and shot, analogue and digital (memory) images and sounds. She has published and exhibited internationally on Forgetting and Commemorative Cultures, Archival Practice, Failure/ Error, Film Art and Useful Films, and the Photofilmic. Her works were shown, among others, at REMASTERED, Kunsthalle Krems (AT) | Curtocircuíto, Santiago de Compostela (ES) | Curtas Vila do Conde IFF (PT) | Antimatter [Media Art], Deluge Contemporary Art Gallery, Victoria, BC (CA) | Cork Film Festival (IE) | New Horizons International Film Festival, Wroclaw (PL).

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Accessibility Infos:

X SPACE is accessible via a ramp. The ramp is 76 cm wide and the slope is 9 %. For more information please contact us!
The closest wheelchair accessible toilet is @ Café Oben, Urban-Loritz-Platz. It’s a five minutes distance.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
about WE DEY x space

WE DEY x space is dedicated to amplify the art and culture production for and by Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color

WE DEY x space aims to center marginalised voices, perspectives, knowledges and experiences from different diasporas

WE DEY x space will host exhibitions, workshops, kitchen table talks and film screenings around the topics of decolonial art production, community, self-care, empowerment.

event picture © Lydia Nsiah

Solo exhibition: Selected Writings (2-4) by Nicole Suzuki
curated by Sushila Mesquita

22.11. (Vernissage, 6-10pm), 24.11., 25.11., 27.11., 29.11. (3-6pm), 30.11. (Finissage 6-10pm)

Paper is light and a powerful tool of knowledge production and disappearance, power reproduction and consolidation. Drawing on Japanese paper and thread production techniques, “Selected Writings (2-4)” puts into view different forms of writing, reading, coding and concealing. The exhibition is an invitation to move away from the assumption of the empty page as a neutral space and brings forth the possibilities of a material and disobedient reading-writing.

Nicole Suzuki works in different media on questions of knowledge production with a focus on the possibilities, violent histories and limitations of the book as a medium. Her work is in dialogue with postcolonial and queer of color critiques. She runs the queer-feminist publishing house Zaglossus and is a political scientist and a teacher.

In conversation with Nicole Suzuki
Sunanda Mesquita for WE DEY

How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know you or your art works yet?

I work as an interdisciplinary artist and independent publisher and my work in both these fields is strongly influenced by me identifying as a queer person of color (no pronouns or she/her).

Several years ago I founded a queer-feminist publishing house in order to make room and create a space for voices and positions that are outside the norm – to amplify and build links by publishing marginalized writing/thought.

However, I have also made the observation that these marginalized positions run the risk of being tokenized or merely integrated into existing power structures in the service of an anti-democratic diversity.

I came to realize that established conceptions of how writing and reading should work themselves are based on powerful norms, which, if unchallenged, serve to reproduce epistemic violence at the expense of positions that are outside the norm, especially with regard to race, gender and sexuality.

So next to my work as a publisher, challenging these dominant paradigms of knowledge production and hopefully finding ways to counter epistemic violence is the central motivation for my artistic practice.

How would you position yourself in the art world? Do you feel any connection to current or past people or movements (also outside the art world)?

A big inspiration for me are artists such as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and M. NourbeSe Philip, who have explored concepts around language, history and memory from a postcolonial perspective and have worked with text and fragmented words.

There is also a connection to artists working with conceptual writing, i. e. transforming texts that already exist into different works. However, in doing so it is of key importance to take into account subjectivity, context and historicity. Therefore, I want to especially focus on models that have the potential to (re-)politicize our engagement with text/language.

Of course, I am also highly inspired by the work of other (queer) publishers of color such as “Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press”, who have been working to make visible the writing, culture, and history of women* of color and especially lesbians of color.

Concerning my focus on un/learning, i.e. on an approach directed at challenging the established and questioning the accepted, I take a lot of inspiration from postcolonial thinkers such as especially Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. What I have learnt from them is the importance of continuously and actively interrogating given power relations from the perspective of or at least in solidarity with knowledges that are excluded or oppressed, and that unlearning is not about simply disavowing histories of violence, but rather about naming these histories of violence, as well as the resistance against them, as a way to seek social transformation.

Tell us a bit more about your works!

I know from my experience as a publisher that we need to actively interrogate the given dominant power relations and forms of knowledge and understand how these are already inscribed in our habits and actions.

So my artistic work is aimed at the question of how un/learning in this regard can be aided by working with text and language visually and by using strategies from the field of conceptual art, particularly displacing and appropriating social materials as a method of social critique.

I have been experimenting with conceptual writing, i.e. a form of writing that usually does not focus on the craft of the writer in the conventional sense, but rather uses stringent concepts or constraints to employ already existing text. What makes conceptual writing interesting for me is that it offers possibilities for testing the necessity of an authorial point of view in the creation of meaning and for exploring ways to not simply confront readers of a text with a prearranged meaning but to have them participate in the creation of meaning.

In addition, it has become more and more clear to me that also more radical and imaginative techniques are necessary. This is why in my most recent works I explore asemic writing and conceptually work with paper and thread (as described below).

This is not only an attempt to subvert the very (material) basis of the logic that generated these epistemic regimes in the first place, but importantly also an attempt to make space for alternative (anti-)narratives.

arbeit3bWhat does your creative process look like?

I see my artistic practice as a way of doing research. It especially helps me to deal with questions when I seem to not get any further with more conventional research tools (I am actually a political scientist by training).

So far, my art work has centered around questions that have repeatedly come up in my work as a publisher: How can we conceive of knowledge not as a single body of sorted ideas, but rather as consisting in fragments and patchworks? How can we leave room for hybridization and for untranslatabilities?

What I like about arts-based approaches is that art can open up spaces in which disunity and disagreement can be cultivated and in which not everything has to be fixed and certain, but can remain precarious.

So in my view, art has the potential to help us comprehend and question our thinking and our actions, and art works can be useful tools for (self-)reflection.

Can you tell us more about the works you are going to exhibit at WE DEY x space?

The works focus on two main aspects: an exploration of asemic writing to challenge common notions of reading, writing, and the potential of written language, and conceptual work with paper and thread in order to break down the material basis of text and to activate it anew.

Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing, which often kind of looks like conventional writing because there are shapes which have resemblance to how letters look. But if at all, it would only be writing for its own sake, instead of writing that relies on actual letters, on an actual alphabet. So it can be seen as a postliterate style of writing and asemic writing is interesting to me because its open nature potentially allows for an asemic text to be “read” regardless of the respective languages people actually can speak and read.

My asemic writing is especially inspired by the Japanese writing system because I only have a very vague recollection of this writing system – so getting into asemic writing here was much easier for me than if I had set out from the Latin alphabet – and also because knowledge about “Asian” alphabets is often projected onto me.

Furthermore, when I did some reading about alphabets and writing systems, I discovered how ethnocentric much research on writing systems and literacy is. For example, Eric A. Havelock, a former professor of classics at Yale University and one of the most frequently cited theorists in the field, took the position that for the Japanese, their script imposed limitations on analytic thought and reflection. In a book that was published in 1982 he wrote that “the free production of novel statement in (their) own script will remain difficult”. Of course, if anything, this statement shows how misguided (to put it nicely) Havelock’s preconceptions were, and showing that there is plenty of evidence that undermines this view has been the background for some of my works.

In addition, many of my works in this exhibition are inspired by “shifu”, the Japanese art of making paper thread in order to produce textiles.

The legend goes that a messenger, who was supposed to deliver a secret message through enemy territory, spun the paper on which the message had been written into thread and made a coat from it. Wearing this coat he could cross the enemy territory and finally unroll the message again.

While I was trying to learn this traditional Japanese technique, I was also reminded of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s metaphor of unlearning as an endless process of weaving invisible threads into an existing texture. Spivak writes: “The text is text-ile. To suture here is to weave, as in invisible mending.”

So, my works in this regard explore how we can conceive of knowledge in a way that does not assume one single red thread but that sees knowledge rather as consisting in fragments and patchworks and where loose ends and unauthorized connections are made a matter of principle.

The motivation is to find ways to negotiate diverse knowledge approaches and bring them together even when they are seemingly in conflict. I also wanted to show that a specific knowledge approach is always already engrained in the very material, i.e. in paper and books, that we write on and print texts in.

arbeit3bWhat interests you in showing your works in the specific context of WE DEY x SPACE in Vienna?

I cannot express how excited and grateful I am that I get to have my first solo exhibition at WE DEY x space!

As a self-organized art space where BPoC artists are able to show their works in a self-determined way, to my knowledge, WE DEY x space is the only one of its kind in Vienna and also well beyond this city.

When WE DEY x space was founded I felt that for the first time I could actually imagine what a space of un/learning could look like. The importance of spaces like WE DEY x space cannot be underestimated given the power relations of cultural supremacy and dominance inherent in institutional infrastructures and also in the practices of art discourses.

Also, I am convinced that being explicit about centering the work of Black and People of Color artists and about particularly directing WE DEY x space’s program towards Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color is an approach that does not limit the audience, but in fact expands it.

Over the last few years, there has been a somewhat growing audience for the work of Black and People of Color artists within the general contemporary art scene. I don’t think that being explicit about the focus of WE DEY x space’s program decreases this general audience, but it hopefully is a way to ensure attention from Black People and People of Color. I am really grateful for all the work WE DEY x space is doing in this regard.

Can you tell us more about other projects you are currently working on?

I enjoy doing conceptual work based on already published texts, particularly from the field of postcolonial, queer-feminist critique, as a way of searching for new possibilities to work with texts.

There are so many beautiful and important books out there but it’s difficult to achieve a wider and lasting reception for them. My suspicion is that maybe this has also to do with our conventional conception of reading, so I work with these texts from a visual perspective and especially using strategies from the field of conceptual art in order to do homage to these texts and to find ways to open these texts for a different way of reading.

For example, one of my recent projects (titled “IS ID ALL”) consisted in a reworking of “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color” an anthology edited by Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga, which was originally released in 1981 and centers the experiences of women* of color.

Another project is on the question of how to deal with the fact that also publishing practices and the medium of the book itself are entangled in epistemic violence. How can I break down the medium of the book and activate it in a way that accounts for that violence and try to redress it?

The aim is to eventually make books that bring together aspects and results of my artistic research described above. How to create books that don’t purport to offer a fully self-contained discourse operating between their covers but offer room for disagreement, misunderstanding, comments and annotations as part of the process of inquiry?

Thank you so much for your interview ❤


WE DEY: Annual Program 2018/19

In the beginning of 2018 WE DEY X SPACE announced its first Open Call for projects. We invited Black artists and artists of Color to apply with proposals for exhibitions, events, workshops, kitchen table talks and film screenings around the topics of decolonial art and knowledge production, community, self-care and empowerment.

We were overwhelmed by the amount and quality of proposals we received from all over the world, projects that center Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color and focus on utopian notions of community, belonging, healing and body politics. We thank all the artists & collectives who put so much time and thought into their proposals! Thank you all for affirming our vision on how important it is to self-organise and to continue creating a space for art and knowledge production by Queer/Trans*/Inter/Black People/People of Color.

We are looking forward to what is coming up until May 2019 (when the lease for WE DEY x space will expire): exhibitions by Nicole Suzuki, WE DEY kültür gemma! fellow Lydia Nsiah, NueNua AKA Ama Josephine Budge, Rudy Loewe, HAIR (Esther Ojo & Terisha Harris), Pêdra Costa& Jota Mombaça and @decolonial_killjoy, workshops and empowerment sessions by Noah Sow, Maisha Auma, Paola Bacchetta and Fatima El-Tayeb, filmscreenings curated by Nine Yamamoto, healing circle by Liaam Iman and of course our ongoing projects. Keep yourself posted on our website: WE-DEY.IN and on Facebook & Instagram.

We would like to thank the WE DEY collective for all their unrelentless effort, time, energy, love and care! Thanks to Jaqueline Ejiji, Esther Abiona Ojo, Janine Jembere, Nicole Suzuki, Amoako Boafo, and all of you who supported us within the past year and who continue to do so in the years to come! Despite the fact that we did receive hardly any public funding we managed to continue the fight for self-determined spaces for BPoC’s in Vienna because of all of you!


Sunanda Mesquita & Sushila Mesquita for WE DEY

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 21.13.17


What you can do to support WE DEY:
* Financial support to pay our rent and bills, production costs for exhibitions, transport costs for artists & artist residencies, our publications,…

* Help us find a new space! As our lease will expire in May 2019, we are looking for new affordable spaces to continue our project

* Donate material to our Archive! Our longterm vision is to create an WE DEY Archive containing herstories of BPoC resistance in Vienna through community engagement and decolonial queer feminist approaches to archiving.



  1. Guided Meditation for BPoC: Tuesday, 13 November 2018 from 18:30-20:00
  2. Guided Meditation for Women* & Nonbinary who are Black / Asian / Rrom_nja / IndígenX*: 14 November 2018 from 08:30-10:30

We Dey x Space, Kandlgasse 24, 1070 Wien

There is no registration needed. Please join on time! Joining in late is not possible.

What you need: loose, wide and comfortable clothing, a mat or thick blanket to sit on, a thin blanket to cover during the relaxation, and if possible a pillow to put under your buttocks.

A private (closed) session with Noah Sow

• Costs: Give what you can/like/want. Apart from that we welcome fruit / nuts / sunshine / smiling – as you wish and feel like.
• Language: The class will take place in English spoken language.
• For whom: One closed session is for BPoC of all genders and one Women*/Trans/Inter/Nonbinary who are Black / Asian / Rrom_nja / IndígenX* .

We need to compensate a lot in daily life. This class presents relaxing rituals which can be helpful to overcome day-to-day life challenges, hardships and struggles.
Conventional Yoga classes unfortunately often don’t contribute to our well-being. Unlike it is understood in the west through a colonised approach, Yoga is a highly effective system that primarily uses meditation and breathing techniques to bring the body mind and soul in alignment when practiced regularly. Through that it can be a useful tool for our mental and physical balance (and -optionally- also spirituality). During this session we will learn and practice how to balance the nervous system by techniques which can then be integrated in our daily life to provide relief and prevent activist burnout.

♥ ‘Sportiness’ / ‘Fitness’ is not necessary for this class! ♥ The exercises will be performed while sitting or laying down!

Noah Sow is an author, lecturer, artist and activist. She has been at the forefront of Germany’s anti-racism and empowerment movements for 25 years. Noah is also an India-trained meditation and yoga teacher and therapist. She constantly continues her own training and study in Vedantic teachings, Yoga and Hatha Yoga.


– Do I need to know or like “Yoga” if I want to join this session?

– Will I have to twist myself? Will I be out of breath? Is this exhausting?
No, all exercises will be performed while sitting down and are doable for people who experience pain or have impairments. It is also possible to do the exercises while sitting on a chair. We will mostly do breathing and guided meditation.

– Do I need a yoga mat?
If you need a mat – please let us know in advance!

– I already know that I won’t be arriving on time…?
We are sorry but maybe you can join next time. Please be on time and participate only if you can stay for the entire session. Tranquility is important for the vibe and we’ll lock the doors on time. Thanks!

– Is this religious? / Is this compatible with my belief or religion?
Yoga is not a religion per se. It is a cultural tradition that embraces all religions and can be practiced with or without (specific or unspecific) belief and spirituality. Yogi_nis come in all sorts of religious backgrounds: Hindu, Muslim, Sufi, Agnostic, Taoist, Christian, and more. As a matter of fact, Abrahamic religions (Islam, Judaism, Christianity) contain some elements of Yoga, as Yoga is much older than them.

BPoC-Empowerment-Workshop mit Noah Sow (for Black students & lecturers and students & lectures of Color) :
13. November 2018 / 15:00 – 18:00
We Dey x Space, Kandlgasse 24, 1070 Wien

Keep the fire burning: How to build structures of continuity in our intersectional art, activism and queer-intersectional knowledge production
Every new wave of activists find themselves in the same dilemma: How to act passionately while avoiding burnout? How to create new movements while acknowledging and learning from those who have paved the way before us?

In the marginalized and often criminalized field of work that is activism for social equality, the resources are dramatically scarce. Oftentimes, not much thought,
effort and energy seems to be left to take care of the movement & historiography and continuity. In this workshop we will discuss creative and traditional ways to build structures of continuity in our own intersectional art, activism and knowledge production.

Noah Sow is a recording, performing and conceptual artist, theorist, lecturer and best selling author. Her work focuses on survival, autonomy, critical analysis of societal norms and empowerment.