We Who Move The World Forward - Voices of resistance in Germany's migration histories
FRI 2.2- SUN 10.3
Opening: DO 2.2, 17H ACUD Galerie
Opening hours: THU-SUN, 15H-20H
Participating artists: Aïssatou Ciss.... International Women* Space, Cana Bilir-Meier, Imad Gebrael, Yergalem Taffere, Wilson Mungai, Ina Wudtke, Nino Bulling, Muhammed Lamin Jadama, Thabo Thindi, Zwoisy Mears-Clarke, HerrFrau Meko, Garden Archives/Fetewei Tarekegn
The exhibition programme invites interdisciplinary artists and activists to respond to their experiences of migrant struggle and structural discrimination and how to empower through modes of de-traumatisation inside the German system and its connection to its own neo-colonial histories. The exhibition connects black feminist migrant activists Fasia Jansen, Semra Ertan, May Ayim and Sista Mimi unraveling the modes of protests, transformational justice and reparations from decolonial perspectives of marginalized populations in Germany rather than an institutionalized approach.
Our collaboration together with Arts Of The Working Class offers their readership readings for concepts around “Codes of Conduct’, introduced by lawyer Julia Wissert, re-modeling resources of workers’ rights and protection reflecting the histories of refugee camp experiences, queer struggles, segregational class markets of the art world, values of (in)justice and protest.
17H Opening of the exhibition
18H Welcome speech with curators and ACUD team
18.30H Performance by Adrian Marie Blount
19.15H DJ session with Yergalem Taffere and Fetewei Tarekegn
20.30H Performance by Zwoisy Mears-Clarke
21H Performance by Mandhla
21.50H -23.30H DJ session with Gayture Gai
Activist and artist FrauHerr Meko introduces their SichtBar queer-feminist mobile library with literature, resources on protection services and preventative strategies for vulnerable communities with books written by Black women authors on the notion of homeland, trauma and displacement. These resources are shared as workshop interventions and weaved as anchors for the conversations on the radio series. They also travel for internal consultation sessions to several refugee centers and womens’ protection services such as Terres De Femmes, LasMigras and Fraueraumzentrum. These resources are contextualized in reading group workshops and The House of Dream series facilitated by Anguezomo Nzé Mba Bikoro on somatic recovery, ancestral healing and trauma-work.
Inside the exhibition, Cana Bilir-Meier introduces through intimate video footage the poems of Semra Ertan and her political stand against racism, the disproportionality of accessibility to healthcare services and its effect on mental health within the Turkish community in Germany.
The series The Lager Report is presented by members of International Women* Space with a series of their visual archive of protests that sparked legal changes on human right laws and transformative justice in the last decade notably for cases of missing persons and gender assaults within refugee camps. They highlight the work of activist Sista Mimi at the school occupation during the Berlin Refugee Movement (2012). The refugee movement was fortified through highly morbid media misconceptions and representations of migrants and few of those experiences were recorded from inside the movement.
Mohammed Lamin Jadama and Nino Bulling’s works unravel narratives of migrant protest and resilience through intimate settings that dismantle common associations from media outlets. Their documents share lesser-known perspectives and voices from protestors and their experiences of the fragility of holding the fabric of a movement fighting for reparation and truth.
Willy Mungai’s sculptural works reflect on the erasure of exploited industrial labor inside the refugee camps, the negligence of healthcare and the significance of afro-technologies and imagination tying from colonial industrial interventions on the continent to the German migrant systems and migrant mobility laws. Inventions made through domestic necessities, re-shape the labor and consistencies of recycling methods, time-travel and energy-saving machines.
Aïssatou Ciss…’s photographs are testimonies about domestic erasures, survival, identification and transformation of largely Black trans migrant and non-binary persons navigating through underground spaces between European borders in public spaces. Her photographic narratives show the transition of those pushed into exile in opposing worlds where an identity abruptly suspends under perpetual reconstitution, arriving to a destination that is an elsewhere filled with grief in a future that never exists. The euphoria of departure is intertwined with the dysphoria of return which also exposes the lack of preventative protection laws in gender rights. Mobility is both visible and erased as a mode of state neglect but also as a right for resilience and resistance in enabling self-sustainable lives from very multiple positions of migrant experiences.
Therefore Imad Gebrael’s Counter-Mapping presents urban negotiations of space and time that affect conditions of public space creatively challenging the reductivist attitudes facing migrant groups to evoke stories of everyday living, working, remembering, economic struggle and queering public cartographies. This has been one of the greater challenges to historically acknowledge migrant movements in Germany as queer-led spaces which Fasia Jansen shared in the struggle of workers’ rights in the 1980’s in Germany; this is sonically shared in her lyrics that Ina Wudtke presents with original vinyl records, both a visible and indicatively erased inspirational figure; a feminist Black-queer and class liberation activist in Germany, whose influence inside Germany’s discourse on race, migrant rights and decolonial practices have yet to be better understood. Missing testimonies of decades of diaspora movement engulfed inside political silencing and the destruction of a neglectful national healthcare for migrants means that speaking your own story is not easy. The law of European integration forces populations to perform versions of ourselves and gaslight our own realities and experiences that make it impossible to speak in our own voice, which triggers intergenerational trauma.
Yergalem Taffere’s film ‘Yagi’s Kaleidoskop #2’ deals with themes of homeland, displacement, grief and trauma repeated in many diasporas in exile; documenting Eritrean activists against the dictatorial regime in Eritrea and their lives to negotiate with their own community here in Germany. Finding, holding and sustaining an independent and safe community is challenging. Historically the German state has made it increasingly impossible to maintain this safety by enforcing illegal evictions notably of marginalized communities, from Freistaat Barackia (1872) to Leibling 42 (2010), and long-term activism and underground solidarity has pushed in shifting decisions against state violence, yet solidarity without self-care is too fragile.
The Garden Archives, initiated by Fetewei Tarekegn (2013), is an interactive greenhouse garden that archives ecology, self-sustainability, botany and migrant solidarity in conversation with the works of Thabo Thindi's photographic portrait of Black lives in Germany. The structure became a symbol to the stories of persons who needed a home, a purpose, a family, an identity to survive in exile. It also shows the problems of neighborhood solidarity, economic labor exploitation, class division, refugee discrimination that lead to permanent forced eviction against spaces that have opened new ways of gathering and intercultural developments for preservation and self sustainable spaces working outside of neo-colonial domination. The consistency of exclusion, eviction and entrapment questions the obligation of ‘integration’, and makes it hard to see our futures safe if we resist and forget about our pasts generated by trauma-induced state triggers in homelands and abroad.
In “Porcelain White,” Zwoisy Mears-Clarke and Venuri Perera, who were born several oceans apart in Jamaica and Sri Lanka, converse across continents as they unravel the complexities and limits of their inherited privilege and probe their complicity. Raised in the English-speaking middle class, they find that what they have in common is a ‘whitened’ inheritance. Zwoisy Mears-Clarke also shares “The Unnamed Wake,” a tale that is not busy with being understood, but rather constantly embracing uncertainty and getting lost in the cracks of lineal time, like a myth. With Alina Buchberger and Pajam Masoumi asking Zwoisy what a text for a dreamed future would be, the tale was moved to speak.
This program is curated by Anguezomo Mba Bikoro and Fetewei Tarekegn and presented by ACUD MACHT NEU.
Funded by: Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin