The first edition of Time for Denial is Over, held in Palermo in June, was a success! On November 9 and 10, euro-scène Leipzig will host the second edition! GROUP50:50 invites artists, activists and thinkers from Europe and Africa to work on the foundations of a transnational restitution movement. In a series of screenings and lectures in Leipzig, artistic and political practices that are redefining African and European identities and reshaping transcontinental dialogue and cooperation will be presented and discussed. Wednesday, November 9 and Thursday, November 10 will also feature the guest performance THE GHOSTS ARE RETURNING by GROUP50:50 at the Schaubühne Lindenfels.
Since the 1960s, a movement of globally networked artists, intellectuals and activists has been persistently working towards the return of African cultural assets and human remains in order to advance the process of de-colonization after independence. After a long period of stagnation, the debate has accelerated in recent years – with examples such as the restitution of Behanzin treasures to the Republic of Benin or the Benin bronzes to Nigeria. Innumerable initiatives from artists and cultural institutions were formed throughout the world that promoted and accompanied this restitution process. In this historic moment, the GROUP50:50 is inviting artists, activists and thinkers from Europe and Africa to work on the foundations for a transnational restitution movement.
In Leipzig, they will present and discuss artistic and political practices in a series of screenings and talks that will redefine the African and European identities and reshape the transcontinental dialogue and cooperation.
Wednesday 9.11. | 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Dialogue with communities and their ancestors!
One of the greatest challenges for a transnational restitution movement is to build a dialogue with those local communities that were dispossessed during the colonial period. How can local communities reappropriate the power of interpretation for the objects and people that they have lost? Local cultural centers, civil society organizations and transnational artist groups will then gain the role of creating bridges between institutions in the north and local communities in the south. But how can this encounter be shaped? Which misunderstandings, which difficulties are we confronted with?
Screening: Mangi Meli Remains
Directors: Konradin Kunze and Flinn Works, 2019. 12 min.
In Old Moshi, Tanzania, a head is missing. It’s Mangi Meli’s, who had resisted against the occupation of the Kilimanjaro area by the German colonial powers and was executed in 1900. After a request from scientists, his head was then shipped to Germany. Mangi Meli’s grandson has been awaiting its return up until the present day.
Discussion with: Mnyaka Sururu Mboro, activist (Berlin), Konradin Kunze, theatermaker, Flinn Works (Berlin), Isabelle Reimann, provenance researcher (Leipzig)
Directors: Anne Reijniers, Nizar Saleh, Paul Shemisi and Rob Jacobs, 2019. 58 Min. (excerpt of 20 Min.)
On the eve of postponed Congolese elections, two Congolese and two Belgian cineasts work on a film about Kinshasa and its resistance against the legacies of colonialism. The four filmmakers want to tell a story together, but having grown up on other sides of history, they have different views on how to tell that story. How should it look like? Who should be in it? For whom is it made? ‘Faire-part’ is the search of 4 filmmakers for a way to portray the city. Through filming artistic performances in public space, they paint a provocative picture of Kinshasa and its relations with the rest of the world.
Discussion with: Faire-Part, transnational collective (Kinshasa / Brussels)
Thursday 10.11. | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Face the damage, treat the wounds!
Today, there is no doubt that thousands of artifacts and the human remains of ancestors located in European museums must be returned to their countries of origin so that people can reappropriate the cultural heritage that they had demanded in long political battles. However, the returning ancestors and artifacts remind people of a long history of violence, exploitation and repression that we have to deal with here in Europe and in Africa. In this sense, the restitution could be a painful and simultaneously healing process in which the relationship between the African and European continent will be fundamentally transformed.
Screening: You Hide Me
Director: Nii-Kwate Owoo, Ghana, 1970. 16 min.
In 1970, the Ghanaian filmmaker Nii-Kwate Owoo spent a day with shooting in the cellar archives of the British Museum. In 1971, his film You Hide Me was forbidden in Ghana as “anti-British”, which ironically led to an influential London magazine “West Africa” publishing a headline that made the film famous in the rest of the world. More than half a century later, You Hide Me was awarded the prize for the best documentary film at the Paris Short Film Festival 2020.
Discussion with: Bénédicte Savoy, art historian (Berlin)
Screening: Behind the Glasses
Director: Azgard Izambo, 2019, 4 min.
In 2018, the Grassi Museum für Völkerkunde invited an artist collective from Kinshasa to engage with their collection, especially with the objects that King Leopold II gifted to the Leipzig museum in 1894. This is the context in which the short film “Behind the Glasses” was created by Azgard Itambo. He captures the pain and questions that a young man from Congo is confronted with when looking at these objects behind glass. How can people live without this history today?
Discussion with: Ohiniki Mawussé Toffa, German studies scholar and historian of colonialism (Leipzig) and Stefanie Bach, curator for global art at the Grassi Museum für Völkerkunde (Leipzig)
Screening: Return: An Epic Journey
Directors: Rita Mukebu and Joseph Kasau. Produced by Centre d’Art Waza, Lubumbashi, 2021. 15 min.
Inspired by the African masks at the Museum Rietberg in Zurich, the Swiss artist Lukas Stucky designed a mask and asked the Congolese artist Rita Mukebo to give it the status of an artwork. In a short film produced by the Centre d’Art Waza Lubumbashi, Mukebu tests the meaning of the mask by visiting the Tshokwe community, the director of an art museum, a university professor and others.
Discussion with: Patrick Mudekereza, curator and author, Centre d’Art Waza (Lubumbashi) and Joseph Kasau, co-director of the film (Lubumbashi).
Registration / inscription firstname.lastname@example.org
Program and moderation Patrick Mudekereza, Eva-Maria Bertschy and GROUP50:50 Production director Nicole Lengenberg and Pamina Rottock Technical director Sylvain Faye Press and social media Fellow Publishing (Johannes Fellmann and Leonie Soltys)
Production PODIUM Esslingen, GROUP50:50, Centre d’Art Waza Lubumbashi Coproduction Studio Rizoma Palermo, CTM Festival Berlin, euro-scene Leipzig, Kaserne Basel, Vorarlberger Landestheater Supported by the TURN2 fund of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes – supported by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Fachausschuss Tanz & Theater BS/BL, Stiftung Pro Helvetia
In cooperation with Leipzig Postkolonial, Grassi Museum für Völkerkunde Leipzig, Studiengruppe Informationsdesign Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle.