Amin Husain and Nitasha Dhillon on Working to Decolonize the Art World

Amin Husain (crouching down in the center right) and Nitasha Dhillon (hold white papers in the center left) talking with a group of artists, activists, and locals before an action at the Brooklyn Museum in 2016. (photo Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

I’ve been wanting to do a major interview with Amin Husain and Nitasha Dhillon for years. As the duo behind MTL+ Collective and organizers with Decolonize This Place, FTP, Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (GULF), and other groups through the years, they’ve played an active role in pressuring New York’s art community and institutions to deal with the issues that have long been overlooked. Though well known for organizing with a focus on worker, indigenous, Black, Palestinian, and migrant rights, both Husain and Dhillon are also artists.

In this wide-ranging, two-part conversation, I speak to Husain and Dhillon, who came to our studio back in May, before the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests that followed, about their lives, ideas, and what they think of an art community that is still grappling with notions of justice, freedom, and equality.

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Part one is a shorter 34-minute interview to introduce you to the pair and their lives, while part two (81 minutes) offers a closer look at their work and the various challenges they’ve faced with the Guggenheim Museum and the Brooklyn Museum, while offering some insights into what’s next.

Instead of music for this episode, I’ve incorporated the sounds of various protests where I’ve encountered the pair, including the 2017 Anti-Columbus Day Tour at the American Museum of Natural History.

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