State-Independent Art Institutions in Unsteady States: Con/Divergences of Postsocialist and Postcolonial Contexts


  • Eszter Szakács University of Amsterdam



postsocialism, postcolonialism, decoloniality, state-independence, art, creative institutionalism, grassroots organizing, funding


This essay looks at an ethnographical study of a grassroots, state-independent art initiative in postsocialist Hungary together with some aspects of the anthropological analyses of a few independent art initiatives in the postcolonial contexts of Tanzania and Senegal. By drawing comparisons between state-independent art institutions in postsocialist and postcolonial regions, where similar creative institutional experiments are at play, I will show how bottom-up art institutions in these two regions can and cannot be considered to be sharing corresponding strategies. This comparative, ethnography-based study between state-independent art institutions allows for a more critical understanding of the intersections of the postsocialist and the postcolonial conditions. My argument is based less on applying a specific theory (such as “Post-Cold War studies” or “decolonial aesthesis”) to both contexts but rather, as I will discuss, on explicating emerging practices as a result of unsteady states.

Author Biography

Eszter Szakács, University of Amsterdam

Researcher and Curator, PhD Scholar, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.


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