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I’ve Known Rivers

Waiting For Progetto RIVA | Black History Month Florence VI ed.

Questo evento si terrà in inglese su ZOOM
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25 febbraio 2021 ore 17.00

Diretta Facebook Murate Art District

Intervengono: Jems Kokobi e Dia Papa Demba
Modera: Justin Randolph Thompson
In collaborazione con MAD Murate Art District

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

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.

Justin Randolph Thompson

co-founder and director Black History Month Florence

Justin Randolph Thompson is a new media artist, cultural facilitator and educator born in Peekskill, NY in ’79. Living between Italy and the US since 1999, Thompson is Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence, a multi-faceted exploration of African and African Diasporic cultures in the context of Italy founded in 2016. Thompson is a recipient of a Louise Comfort Tiffany Award, a Franklin Furnace Fund Award, a Visual Artist Grant from the Fundacion Marcelino Botin, two... Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants, A Jerome Fellowship from Franconia Sculpture Park and an Emerging Artist Fellowship from Socrates Sculpture Park. His life and work seek to deepen the discussions around socio-cultural stratification and hierarchical organization by employing fleeting temporary communities as monuments and fostering projects that connect academic discourse social activism and DIY networking strategies in annual and biennial gathering, sharing and gestures of collectivity.

 

 

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Dia Papa Demba

President of the regional coordination of Tuscan foreigners' councils

Dia Papa Demba was born in Senegal in 1971 and has lived in Tuscany for 20 years. Since 2010 he is an Italian citizen. He lives in Pontedera where he is a  trade unionist, responsible for the tanning area and basin operator for crafts in the area of Livorno and Pisa. He has always worked in a tannery and was  president of the Council of Foreigners of the Municipality of Pontedera. He is currently president of the regional coordination of Tuscan foreigners’ councils  and councils... engaged in associations. For several Italian based Senegalese associations he been involved with international cooperation projects with  Senegal.

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Jems Koko Bi  

Sculptor and performer

Both a sculptor and a performer, Jems Koko Bi mixes avant-gardist influences to his firmly African history. In his works, he questions the notions of space and  time, within a wider and ongoing reflection on his own existence.

”The trees give me instructions and I carry them out in the wood. They advise me and I tell their stories.”

His wooden sculptures initiate a conversation with the forces of nature. In his studio at the heart of the forest, immense... sculptures see the light of day and  interrogates the identity and the ancestors, the native land and the exile. Through a subtle and confident gesture, the artist reveals the outlines of matter. Following multiple deafening swings, a face comes out of the stump. The mechanized, sympathetic, hand drags it out. It has always existed, but it was  hidden  from the world. The gesture reveals its shape. In rhythm, through gentle touches, the artist seems to caress its surface, which he transforms at each  passage. He awakens the element with a mastered intuitive precision: a dance armed with an iron fist in a breath of tenderness.

 

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