The Color Curtain and the Promise of Bandung

A series of roundtables reappraising Asian-African political imagination

The Color Curtain and the Promise of Bandung is a research project about a formative historical gathering. The Asian-African Conference held in 1955 in the city of Bandung, Indonesia, can be considered a catalyst of already existing political and cultural affiliations. Stimulated by the Bandung moment, this Asian African solidarity movement had an anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, and anti-racist rationale.

In his book The Color Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference (1956), African American writer Richard Wright drew connections between the Bandung Conference and the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.A. He championed the African American cause and called for solidarity with People of Color in their decolonial struggle against capitalist, Western and white exploitation. Key for this objective was cultural cooperation between Asia and Africa and their diasporas. Notedly, the Asian-African Conference installed a cultural committee next to a political and an economical one.  

In a series of online roundtables with scholars, curators, and artists, provisional research is shared with an audience in the form of storylines. Reanimating the so-called ‘third-way’ political imagination carried by the Bandung spirit, this collective research is driven by a poetics of correspondence, addressing cultural traditions while at the same time revealing translational experiences across Asia, Africa, and their diasporas.