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  1. ScreenTalk#2

    Afrofuturism: rethinking and redefining (historical) narratives and identity

    A screening and artist talk

    Date:  Sunday 23rd March 2014
    Time: 4.00 pm – 7.00 pm
    Location: WM Gallery Amsterdam, Elandsgracht 35, Amsterdam

    In the context of the exhibition ‘The Library of Light’, we are proud to present the artists Femi Dawkins, Raul Balai and Catherine Henegan who will be present during the event for a Q&A and talk about the influence of Afrofuturism and one of it’s most famous pioneers, Sun Ra. Claiming that he was of the "Angel Race" and not from Earth, but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona using "cosmic" philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him one of the most important pioneers of afrofuturism.

    4.00 pm: Introduction

    4.30 pm: Screening and presentation

    Space is the Place. Director John Coney. Producer: Jim Newman. Written by Sun Ra and Joshua Smith. Language: English. USA, 1974.

    The Afro Galactic Dream Factory, (material from the project as performed in Cape Town in 2012).
    Producer Catherine Henegan. The Arkestra includes Jimmy Rage, Mr Sakitumi & The Grrrl, Masello Motana, Bliksemstraal, Bongani Magatyana and The Mafrica Mbube Singers from Nanga.

    5:20 pm: Artist talk and Q&A
    Femi Dawkins, Catherine Henegan, Raul Balai

    Femi Dawkins, aka Jimmy Rage (artist)
    Catherine Henegan (producer, theatre director and artist)
    Raul Balai, aka El Bastardo (artist)

    Moderator: Sebastian Rypson

    N.B: Please come on time. Limited seating.

    About ScreenTalk#2 Afrofuturism: rethinking and redefining (historical) narratives and identity

    As part and parcel of the exhibition “Library of Light”, ScreenTalk#2 ‘Afrofuturism: rethinking and redefining (historical) narratives and identity’ aims to deepen the understanding of knowledge production and the aesthetical and sociological phenomenon of Afrofuturism as a medium to shine light on alternative (historical) narratives which challenge (pre)existing modes of perception. In Afrofuturism, the past, present and future come together. It is rooted in the past, in history, African cosmology and mythology, using pieces of the past to distort the present and create the future. The term Afrofuturism was coined in 1993 by the American cultural critic Mark Dery to describe science fiction by African-American writers whose work addresses African-American concerns. However, the ideas and aesthetics that form Afrofuturism go back further with Afrofuturist elements being found in music, art and film.

    Based on the film ‘Space is the Place’ from 1974, written by the eclectic, mystifying philosopher, poet and Jazz musician Sun Ra – the father of the Afrofuturist movement – the artists Femi Dawkins and Catherine Henegan will take us on a journey to show the inspiration of Sun Ra and Afrofuturism in their artistic practice, exploring issues of identity, African diaspora, historiography, technology, space and time. Through their work we get to see how the ideas of Afrofuturism are very much actual and relevant also to the African continent and the African diaspora outside of the United States, as well as the movement’s importance in redefining and rethinking (historical) narratives.

    About the screenings:
    Space is the Place. Director John Coney. Producer: Jim Newman. Language: English. USA, 1974.
    Space is the Place is a film about history, time, Blaxploitation, philosophy and space Jazz. It is the cinematic realisation of Sun Ra's cosmic consciousness linked to the political and social realities of the African American urban experience. Sun Ra, the space-age prophet, shaman and Jazz musician having been presumed lost in space for a few years, lands on a new planet in outer space with his crew "The Arkestra" and decides to settle African Americans on this planet. The medium of transportation he has chosen is music.

    The Afro Galactic Dream Factory. Producer Catherine Henegan. 2012
    Femi Dawkins and Catherine Henegan will present audio-visuals from the tantalizing Afro Galactic Dream Factory performance that took place in South Africa. Inspired by the philosophies of Sun Ra, The Afro Galactic Dream Factory is a mash-up of music and visuals thrown into the bountiful void of outer space, the place of our future paradise re-dreamed and remixed. The musical genres of the show flow between jazz, reggae, ska, electronica/trip-hop, traditional Mbube flavors, rock and even a dose of opera. The Arkestra includes Jimmy Rage, Mr Sakitumi & The Grrrl, Masello Motana, Bongani Magatyana and The Mafrica Mbube Singers from Nanga and Bliksemstraal.

    About the artists:
    Femi Dawkins aka, Jimmy Rage is a Jamaican-born, Amsterdam-based multidisciplinary artist, whose work focuses on fractured narratives, autobiographical tales that cross borders, and the ways in which diasporal identity is articulated and narrated.

    Catherine Henegan is an award-winning theatre director, producer and artist born in Johannesburg, living and working in Amsterdam. Henegan’s work revolves around performance, film and music.

    Raul Balai (aka El Bastardo), 1980, is a visual artist living and working in Amsterdam. Recently, his work has been focussing on his multi-ethnic heritage. He is constantly refining his own visual and conceptual vocabulary that emerges through the points of intersection between his work fields of contemporary art, illustration and graphic design. The last couple of years his work has been shown at MUHKA (Antwerp, Belgium), Dak'Art OFF  (Dakar, Senegal), Galleri Image (Aarhus, Denmark) and Amsterdam Musem (Amsterdam, the Netherlands).

    Blaton & Rypson, Anthropologists in Art, Jonathan Aldenberg, Marie Bromander, Femi Dawkins, Catherine Henegan and Raul Balai.