Ramatu Musa, Sierra Leone-born American writer focusing on culture, current affairs, and geopolitics, she lives in Switzerland
My highlights for 2019 was Jonathas de Andrade’s, Eu, mestiço, and Coco Fusco’s, Tin Man of the Twenty-First Century, both of which I saw at Art Basel’s Unlimited sector in Switzerland. Looming large at ten-foot tall, and with a ridiculous expression on its face, Fusco’s aluminium and steel installation mimics the venerational statues beloved by authoritarian leaders. Tin Man embodied the absurd and unpresidential energy of Donald Trump, who is currently destroying the constitutional norms of the American republic. Eu, mestiço was fantastic as an indictment against Brazil’s so-called racial utopia. De Andrade juxtaposed textual descriptions from UNESCO’s 1952 Race and Class in Rural Brazil report with photographs of modern-day Brazilians performing their “race” in a manner that felt subversive. Eu, mestiço was powerful considering how Jair Bolsonaro is dismantling the socially progressive legacy of Lula da Silva. Both of these works were charged with political energy.