At Whitney Performance, Sibyl Kempson Stands in Solidarity with Decolonize This Place

Decolonize This Place posters outside Sibyl Kempson’s 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens at the Whitney Museum.


As part of her ongoing performance 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens, which is happening now at the Whitney Museum, the playwright, director, and performer Sibyl Kempson is giving out posters designed by the activist group Decolonize This Place. These posters were also distributed at a protest staged at the Whitney earlier this month that was aimed at bringing attention to Warren B. Kanders, who serves as the vice chair of the Whitney’s board and whom Hyperallergic recently reported was the owner of the defense manufacturing company Safariland, which has produced products used against asylum seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“There are conflicting feelings within each of us as we work together to make this final gesture,” Kempson told ARTnews in an email. “Some of our folks attended the glorious protest last Sunday, and we are feeling and sharing the mood of those who work in the building.”

The Decolonize This Place posters are currently free for the taking outside the Whitney’s theater, on the third floor of the museum. A note appended to the stand that holds them notes that Kempson and the performers stand “in solidarity” with Decolonize This Place.

This week’s marks the final iteration of Kempson’s performance, which has been staged each solstice and equinox since March 2016. As part of the work, she has erected an installation in the museum’s theater, where she is staging astrological readings, musical performances, and tours through Friday. Outside the theater, Kempson has set up a basket in which viewers can deposit tips. The money collected will be passed along to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, a nonprofit that offers free legal services to immigrants in Central and South Texas.

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