Beyond the Door of No Return

Beyond the Door of No Return

Thus in Thy good time may infinite reason turn the tangle straight, and these crooked marks on a fragile leaf be not indeed. —W. E. B. Du Bois

Selene Wendt’s Beyond the Door of No Return represents the first in a series of co-publications between The Africa Institute, Sharjah, and Skira, one of the oldest and leading publishers in the field of art and visual culture.


We are proud to inaugurate this collaboration with Wendt’s book, which features a group of African and African diaspora artists who are all at the forefront of a conceptualism that is intertwined with a cutting-edge decolonial thinking. Drawing on extensive research that brings together cultural studies and postcolonial theory, with particular emphasis on stories of resistance and rebellion against colonial rule, the volume shifts the focus away from the deeply entrenched Eurocentric perspectives of contemporary art.


The featured artworks convey narratives of empowerment that also help expose some of the lesser-known and, in some cases, consciously hidden details of colonial history, such as Norwegian involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. Seen through the lens of contemporary art, the book provides valuable insight into the entanglements and overlaps that connect the colonial histories of Scandinavia and Europe to Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. In turn, these narratives shed light on the many factors that have contributed to the perpetuation of colonial power structures today, seen most evidently in social injustices and related inequalities, such as poverty, forced migration, and racism. 


The Africa Institute is an interdisciplinary academic research institute dedicated to the study, research, and documentation of Africa and the African diaspora and their manifold connections with the wider world. It is conceived as a research-based think-tank and a postgraduate studies institution, offering both master’s and PhD programs, which aims to train a new generation of critical thinkers. Hence, collaborations with publishers such as Skira are essential to The Africa Institute’s mission of enhancing knowledge production and, by extension, public awareness of all aspects of African and African diaspora arts and culture.


Hoor Al-Qasimi

Salah M. Hassan

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