Artist talk

Method and theory

Switzerland is commonly associated with chocolate. Similarly, the history of chocolate is intrinsically intertwined with colonization. The colonial past of Switzerland – that has been put aside for a long time, due to the fact that Switzerland didn’t own any formal colonies overseas – becomes obvious through the colonial entanglements within one of the most emblematic components of Swiss identity: chocolate. To clearly understand the history of these colonial entanglements, we need to address it from different perspectives. Artistic practices can offer that.

About the artists

Chocobanana entanglement was an artist talk that enabled a dialogue between the two artists, Adán Vallecillo from Honduras and Marie van Berchem from Switzerland. The discussion started by outlining how the artists understand decolonial practice. Decolonization is still a difficult and unknown concept. Moreover, manyfold artistic practices long had a decolonial foundation without explicitly labeling them as decolonial. In this regard, Vallecillo and van Berchem mentioned how they addressed different historical and present colonial constellations. Both artists highlighted the mechanism of colonial global designs that they tackled from the perspective of their local histories. Although the relations and experiences with such colonial projects are quite different in Honduras and Switzerland, van Berchem and Vallecillo highlighted the importance of such intercultural dialogues. Resistance against (neo-)colonial practices and entanglements should be a collaborative transnational exercise. If a world of many worlds has a place nowadays, it has to start with such spaces of dialogue and negotiation.


Adán Vallecillo studied Fine Arts and Sociology in Honduras and Puerto Rico. The methodology of his art practice is strongly based on research on-site and combining local visual and social aspects. He works and lives in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Adán Vallecillo, Copan’s Tablet, 2014
Adán Vallecillo, Telluric Drawing 6, 2014


Marie van Berchem studied Visual Arts in Geneva and founded the Bateauthèque in 2017 She works on decolonization through a reflexive method criticizing her own position of authority, which she translates into plastic and poetic forms.

Marie van Berchem, Helvetia. Une légende au bon lait suisse, 2021
  • Would you define your projects as decolonial (or anti-colonial)?
  • How do you define decolonisation and how does it affect your practice?
  • Is resistance of importance for your practice?
  • Do you think it can play an important role by the decolonial intervention of public space?
  • Where do you see the coloniality of the public space?
  • How would you say the colonized public space is based on?
  • How do your different experiences affect the idea of public space?
  • Where do you see the transformative possibilities of intervening in public space?
  • How would you define your strategy of uncovering colonial hegemonic narratives?
  • Would collaborative strategies between different actors and different regions extend and deepen the work you have already started?
  • How do you think collaborative alliances should be shaped?
  • Where do you see the difficulties and possible contradictions of the “negotiation” of “cosmopolitan”, “multifocal” or “plural” places?
  • How do you understand history?
  • How do you understand the relations between your own self and the “Other’s”
  • Does it play a role in your work?