State of Emergency - Harakati za Mau Mau kwa Haki, Usawa na Ardhi Yetu, Give and Take. Bilder über Bilder, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 2022


State of Emergency - Harakati za Mau Mau kwa Haki, Usawa na Ardhi Yetu is an ongoing documentary project in collaboration with Mau Mau war veterans and Kenyans who survived colonial atrocities. In the form of in-person reenactments, or "demonstrations," together they (re)visualise the fight for independence from British colonial rule in the 1950s, manifesting their past experiences in the present with a future audience in mind. With most of the colonial archives deliberately destroyed, hidden or manipulated, this project attempts to shine a light on this history’s blind spots by creating new ‘imagined records’ that fill in the missing gaps of historical archives. State of Emergency interweaves fragmentary colonial archives, photographs of architectural and symbolic remnants from the past, mass grave sites, demonstrations and the testimonies of people who experienced and survived the war themselves.

State of Emergency is a collaborative attempt at rebuilding and reimagining possible futures of reparation and reconciliation. Together with the National Museums of Kenya and members of Mau Mau War Veterans Association, they deliver a collective response aimed at healing—without erasing—the still gaping wounds of colonial violence, creating a restorative instrument of the photographic medium that makes it possible to tell their truths to the powerful.

Preview the project on the Pan-African platform The Elephant:
The Elephant / Unhistories, Part I – Kenya’s Mau Mau: A Walk Through the Archives
The Elephant / Unhistories, Part II – Kenya’s Mau Mau: Detention Camps and Torture
The Elephant / Unhistories, Part III – Kenya’s Mau Mau: Resistance, Mass Graves and Compensation

State of Emergency - Harakati za Mau Mau kwa Haki, Usawa na Ardhi Yetu is produced with the support of the National Museums of Kenya, the Kenya National Archives, the Nyeri Museum, Karatina University, the National Mau Mau War Veterans Association of Kenya, the Kenya Human Rights Comission, The National Archives (UK), the Bristol Archives and Museums, the Archive of Modern Conflict and the Flemish government. This ongoing project started during Pinckers’ time as a doctoral researcher in arts at KASK & Conservatorium, the HOGENT and Howest school of arts, financed by the HOGENT Arts Research Fund.

Research and production assistance by Victoria Gonzalez-Figueras. Research support by David Anderson and the Museum of British Colonialism. Translations and transcriptions by Maureen Ng’ayu and Terry Wairimu. Audiovisual assistance by Wiet Lengeler and Pedro Gossler. All photographs from 2015 were created during the collaboration The Struggle for Freedom in: "________” with Michiel Burger.

Reference texts & reviews:
Reimagining Time, Reconstructing Space: Visual Approaches to Mau Mau History In Kenya, Chao Maina & Max Pinckers, Trigger, 2020
The Weight of Photographs. About all the photo series of Max Pinckers, Hans Theys, Max Pinckers, 2021
Schuldgevoelens leiden tot niks. Gesprek met David Linx over de fotoreeks Unhistories van Max Pinckers, Hans Theys, HART, 2021
Een speculatief vat vol verhalen – Een gesprek met Max Pinckers, Jasper Delva, Metropolis M, 2022

UnhistoriesYouTube Channel