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I've Known Rivers | Black History Month Florence VI ed.

Waiting For Progetto RIVA | Zoom meeting
Speakers: Jems Kokobi with Dia Papa Demba 
Moderator: Justin Randolph Thompson

I’ve Known Rivers draws its title from a line in a 1920 poem by Langston Hughes that speaks of diaspora and lineage through the metaphor of rivers. This project looks to the artist Jems Kokobi reworking traditions and connecting his artistic practice to the sustainability of the natural environment through the material of wood and a response to deforestation’s impact on rivers, natural processes that have since been industrialized and a reflection on the reclaiming of the spiritual dimensions of this work. The artist, engaged in Afrocentric meditations on history and the bridging of the contemporary art world to activist tactics, is placed in dialogue with a local representative of the trade unions around tanneries connected to the Arno river and engaged in sustainability through technological processes and the rights of workers. The conversation is an interdisciplinary one placing practice and poetry side by side.

I’ve Known Rivers draws its title from a line in a 1920 poem by Langston Hughes that speaks of diaspora and lineage through the metaphor of rivers. This project looks to the artist Jems Kokobi reworking traditions and connecting his artistic practice to the sustainability of the natural environment through the material of wood and a response to deforestation’s impact on rivers, natural processes that have since been industrialized and a reflection on the reclaiming of the spiritual dimensions of this work. The artist, engaged in Afrocentric meditations on history and the bridging of the contemporary art world to activist tactics, is placed in dialogue with a local representative of the trade unions around tanneries connected to the Arno river and engaged in sustainability through technological processes and the rights of workers. The conversation is an interdisciplinary one placing practice and poetry side by side.

I've Known Rivers | Black History Month Florence VI ed.

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Black History Month Florence

Curatorial team

Black History Month Florence was founded in 2016 is a cross institutional network for Black cultural production that celebrates Afro-descendent Cultures in the context of Italy. The initiative is engaged in programming, advising and co-promoting over 50 events annually within the month of February, through a network formed and supported by the Comune, foundations, institutions, cultural associations, museums, schools and venues dedicated to art and to music. BHMF as a curatorial team is headed by Justin Randolph Thompson and Janine Gaelle Dieudji.

Black History Month Florence was founded in 2016 is a cross institutional network for Black cultural production that celebrates Afro-descendent Cultures in the context of Italy. The initiative is engaged in programming, advising and co-promoting over 50 events annually within the month of February, through a network formed and supported by the Comune, foundations, institutions, cultural associations, museums, schools and venues dedicated to art and to music. BHMF as a curatorial team is headed by Justin Randolph Thompson and Janine Gaelle Dieudji.

Janine Gaëlle Dieudji

co-founder and director Black History Month Florence

Janine Gaëlle Dieudji is a bi-national French and Cameroonian graduate of Culture and International Relations from Lyon 3 University in France. She also holds a Master Degree in Political Science from Paris 2 Panthéon Assas University.

She’s been living in Florence, Italy, for the past six years, a city she has since fallen in love with. This is how Florence became home to her and the place where she started to build her career as an art professional. She considers herself as a ‘multi­local’ by believing that we belong to all the places we have lived in. Home is where the mind can create and feel rested at the same time. This is what the life journey is made for, exploring to become the person we decide to be.

Janine Gaëlle Dieudji is a bi-national French and Cameroonian graduate of Culture and International Relations from Lyon 3 University in France. She also holds a Master Degree in Political Science from Paris 2 Panthéon Assas University.

She’s been living in Florence, Italy, for the past six years, a city she has since fallen in love with. This is how Florence became home to her and the place where she started to build her career as an art professional. She considers herself as a ‘multi­local’ by believing that we belong to all the places we have lived in. Home is where the mind can create and feel rested at the same time. This is what the life journey is made for, exploring to become the person we decide to be.

The isle of Venus | Kiluanji Kia Henda A cura di BHMF 2021

Isle of Venus is a meditation on the socio-psycho and self imposed short sightedness produced by the transformation of cities into theme based museum sites, whether anchored in the romanticism of the Renaissance or in the gritty appeal of the medieval.

Isle of Venus is a site specific installation by Kiluanji Kia Henda conceptualized during the artists sojourn in Florence as a reflection on the city, its history and its relationship to transitory people whether tourists or other seemingly impermanent residents.

Island mentality refers to the notion that isolation and lack of consideration for all beyond one’s borders produces a sense of superiority that is insular in its desensitization. This notion is not reserved for those geographically cut off from others but spills over onto those societies so habitually engaged in establishing the terms, norms, canons, borders and values that they thrive on, that they rarely take notice of the labor intensively constructed fiction or the painstakingly preserved facade.

Isle of Venus is a meditation on the socio-psycho and self imposed short sightedness produced by the transformation of cities into theme based museum sites, whether anchored in the romanticism of the Renaissance or in the gr

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Isle of Venus is a site specific installation by Kiluanji Kia Henda conceptualized during the artists sojourn in Florence as a reflection on the city, its history and its relationship to transitory people whether tourists or other seemingly impermanent residents.

Island mentality refers to the notion that isolation and lack of consideration for all beyond one’s borders produces a sense of superiority that is insular in its desensitization. This notion is not reserved for those geographically cut off from others but spills over onto those societies so habitually engaged in establishing the terms, norms, canons, borders and values that they thrive on, that they rarely take notice of the labor intensively constructed fiction or the painstakingly preserved facade.

Isle of Venus is a meditation on the socio-psycho and self imposed short sightedness produced by the transformation of cities into theme based museum sites, whether anchored in the romanticism of the Renaissance or in the gritty appeal of the medieval. Part and parcel of this veneer is the distancing of all things unaligned with, or that effectively, evoke the social underpinnings of this consistent barrage.

Curated by BHMF in collaboration with MAD Murate Art District;
MAD Murate Art District, Sala Anna Banti 03/02-28/02/2021
Black History Month Florence.VI Edizione. OSTINATO

The isle of Venus | Kiluanji Kia Henda A cura di BHMF 2021

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Gettare il Sasso e nascondere la mano | BHMF 2021

The works form an invitation towards a collective capacity for developing strategies of resistance but also a critique in relation to the shortsightedness of self-aggrandizing individualism.

Gettare il sasso e nascondere la mano is a collective exhibition dedicated to the artists of the first edition of the YGBI Research Residency developed in collaboration with OCAD and The Student Hotel in February 2020 under the mentorship of Andrea Fatona and Leaf Jerlefia.  The residence reflected on spaces of non-performativity, collectivity and the notion of diaspora. Bringing together five Afro-descendant artists under 35 and residing in Italy, the resulting exhibition designed for the cells of Murate Art District embraces a series of narratives that link spirituality to education and colonial history and its materiality to historical activism.

The exhibition is rooted in an experimental approach to the collective sharing of space.

The phrase Gettare il sasso e nascondere la mano (throwing a stone and hiding the hand) was voiced by Cécile Kyenge as a description of a futile attempt at not being held accountable for the enactment of blatant and intentional violence. Her

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Gettare il sasso e nascondere la mano is a collective exhibition dedicated to the artists of the first edition of the YGBI Research Residency developed in collaboration with OCAD and The Student Hotel in February 2020 under the mentorship of Andrea Fatona and Leaf Jerlefia.  The residence reflected on spaces of non-performativity, collectivity and the notion of diaspora. Bringing together five Afro-descendant artists under 35 and residing in Italy, the resulting exhibition designed for the cells of Murate Art District embraces a series of narratives that link spirituality to education and colonial history and its materiality to historical activism.

The exhibition is rooted in an experimental approach to the collective sharing of space.

The phrase Gettare il sasso e nascondere la mano (throwing a stone and hiding the hand) was voiced by Cécile Kyenge as a description of a futile attempt at not being held accountable for the enactment of blatant and intentional violence. Her’s was a response to the hands hidden in plain sight responsible for social damage and the sustenance of fractured values. This exhibition engages the socio-spiritual obstinacy that recognizes the obvious yet is cognizant of each of us as keepers of under-acknowledged agency.

The works form an invitation towards a collective capacity for developing strategies of resistance but also a critique in relation to the shortsightedness of self-aggrandizing individualism. The project comes in the wake of a series of solo exhibitions that were held at the MAGA Museum within the research project The Recovery Plan that was put on pause by the second phase of lockdowns in Fall of 2020 which is accompanied by five monographic online volumes each on dedicated to one of the artists involved.

 

Curated by Black History Month Florence
In collaboration with Murate Art District
MAD Murate Art District, celle, piano 1

Gettare il Sasso e nascondere la mano | BHMF 2021

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Sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito BHMF 2020

Janine Gaëlle Dieudji su M'Barek Bouhchichi

Janine Gaëlle Dieudji su M'Barek Bouhchichi
Sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito BHMF 2020

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Sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito BHMF 2019

Janine Gaelle Dieudji about Adji Dieye

Janine Gaelle Dieudji su Adji Dieye
Sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito BHMF 2019

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Sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito BHMF 2019

Janine Gaelle Dieudji about Delio Jasse

Janine Gaelle Dieudji su Delio Jasse
Sporcarsi le mani per fare un lavoro pulito BHMF 2019

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Because time in this place does not obey an order

Because time in this place does not obey an order - Black History Month Florence 2019

Curated by BHMF With the partnership of MAD Murate Art District

In collaboration with: Boomker Sound Studios Syracuse University Florence SRISA Vivaio Il Giardiniere Antonella Bundu Chris Norcross

And we can no longer breathe And we can no longer see But, in the escape compagno In the fear, compagno Like in the fight, compagno I will be forever by your side

Collettivo Victor Jara, Le Murate

These were the words written and sung by the musical collective Victor Jara days after the 1974 revolt at le Murate jails. Protest against unfit living conditions and oppressive forces are frequent in sites which separate, either willingly or by force, social groups from the world that surrounds them. The socio-spiritual nature of what is just and human worth is at the root of contemplation in isolation. These feelings originated from the artist’s encounter with Le Murate. Progetti Arte Contemporanea, they led the project. For the occasion of the fourth edition of Black History Month Florence

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Curated by BHMF With the partnership of MAD Murate Art District

In collaboration with: Boomker Sound Studios Syracuse University Florence SRISA Vivaio Il Giardiniere Antonella Bundu Chris Norcross

And we can no longer breathe And we can no longer see But, in the escape compagno In the fear, compagno Like in the fight, compagno I will be forever by your side

Collettivo Victor Jara, Le Murate

These were the words written and sung by the musical collective Victor Jara days after the 1974 revolt at le Murate jails. Protest against unfit living conditions and oppressive forces are frequent in sites which separate, either willingly or by force, social groups from the world that surrounds them. The socio-spiritual nature of what is just and human worth is at the root of contemplation in isolation. These feelings originated from the artist’s encounter with Le Murate. Progetti Arte Contemporanea, they led the project. For the occasion of the fourth edition of Black History Month Florence current Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome Karyn Olivier presents Because Time In This Place Does Not Obey An Order, a series of site specific installations that grapple with the relationship between justice and spirituality. The works engage the history of Le Murate and its transition from a site of spiritual recluse to a carceral space sifting through the continuity and contrast that these histories evoke. Mental health, social critique, isolation, the closeting of history and the conflation of senses set cloistered gardens in dialogue with the steady words of Martin Luther King Jr. writing from a jail cell and reveal traces of life behind closed doors which claims universal rights.

Because time in this place does not obey an order

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Miles. Assolo a fumetti

Miles. Assolo a fumetti - Black History Month Florence 2019

Miles Davis is one of the most iconic figures of Jazz history. His biography is one of complex evolution and artistic persistance. In many ways jazz is often far removed from the appreciation of younger generations and the magic of its expansion of sound and cultural impact are hence too frequently lost. This exhibition takes on the form of the comic book in order to narrate the life and times of Davis and the impulses behind some of his compositions which have gone on to become jazz standards. Lucio Ruvidotti transformed a love for jazz into a comic book that invites the viewer to an intimate look at this artist and celebrates the impact that he has had on the world of music. These works engage an audience that spans generations bringing this figure to the forefront, as Ruvidotti explains himself:

“I tried to tell story of this figure, the prince of darkness, the great artist, taking advantage of some episodes of his exuberant exaggerated life. But above all the goal was to show, th

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Miles Davis is one of the most iconic figures of Jazz history. His biography is one of complex evolution and artistic persistance. In many ways jazz is often far removed from the appreciation of younger generations and the magic of its expansion of sound and cultural impact are hence too frequently lost. This exhibition takes on the form of the comic book in order to narrate the life and times of Davis and the impulses behind some of his compositions which have gone on to become jazz standards. Lucio Ruvidotti transformed a love for jazz into a comic book that invites the viewer to an intimate look at this artist and celebrates the impact that he has had on the world of music. These works engage an audience that spans generations bringing this figure to the forefront, as Ruvidotti explains himself:

“I tried to tell story of this figure, the prince of darkness, the great artist, taking advantage of some episodes of his exuberant exaggerated life. But above all the goal was to show, through the language of comics, his music, incredibly evolved from the forties to the nineties.”

The comic strip released in 2018 by Edizioni BD tells the story through eight chapters entitled with the names of some of his most important compositions. Each part of the book is also distinguished by a different use of the color and composition of the table. Alongside the original drawings made by the artist, the exhibition shows a series of cartoon prints, accompanied by the music of Miles Davis that pervades the Emeroteca delle Murate room.

Miles. Assolo a fumetti

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