The salon as part of Witness by Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor is modelled after the monthly salon sessions that Taylor founded in 2012 called Black in Berlin. For the past two years, these monthly gatherings have been a space for discussions on race and race relations. Adopting a ‘kitchen table’ format, in the past the salons’ topics ranged from Cultural Appropriation to Integration to Model Minorities to the New Diaspora. Each salon begins with a conversation between Taylor and an invited guest speaker before the discussion is extended to the wider group present.
At IMMA, the salon’s conversation is with guest speaker Natasha A. Kelly and focuses on two issues – archiving as resistance and inherited identities. In terms of archiving, the artist states that access to historical archives is a privilege not afforded to marginalized communities. Erasing and destroying documents, folklore and historical records is a tool often used to oppress these communities. In the salon, oral history as a means of protest and DIY ritual as a means of survival will be discussed. With inherited identities, Taylor asks ‘How does our ancestral DNA affect our identity? In what ways does generational trauma shape our day to day? How do we begin the process to unlearn traumatic habits and rituals?’ Issues such as body hacking, femme futurity and identity politics will be discussed.
The salon takes place within the spaces of Andrea Geyer’s exhibition When We in the Courtyard Galleries at IMMA.
This is a Free Drop-In event / Limited Places are allocated on a first come basis. Early arrival advised.
Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor (b. 1984, Florida) is an artist, filmmaker, archivist and community organizer. Her roots are in the Southern United States, born in Mississippi and bred in Florida. Taylor’s work manifests through performance, text, dialogue, dance and community building for Black People and People of Colour. Her work centres on themes of ritual, visibility and identity mythology. She is chiefly concerned with ways to dismantle oppressive institutions and the creation of racial equity in art and theatre. Her advocacy and organizing work stems from contemporary critical race theory.
Taylor curated and hosted the almost monthly discursive salon on race politics and race relations ‘Black in Berlin’ which was presented at Savvy Contemporary (Berlin) and Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art. She has performed and presented work at the Barbican Centre of Art (London, UK), Chisenhale Gallery (London, UK), Hebbel Am Ufer (Berlin, Germany), Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin, Germany), Sophiensaele Theater (Berlin, Germany) and The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art (Oslo, Norway).
Natasha A. Kelly has a PhD in Communication Studies and Sociology with her research focus on colonialism and feminism. Born and bred in the United Kingdom and raised in Germany, Kelly was the elected representative of the European Union in the Council for Integration and Migration of the Berlin Senate (2012 – 2016). Kelly considers herself to be an “academic activist” (two important features that can be seen individually, but never separately from each other). Rooted in the Pan-African culture of her Jamaican heritage her political and academic works relate to the past, present, and future of the African Diaspora in Germany. As an editor, author and lecturer at diverse private and state universities in Germany and Austria she uses different art forms to materialize “untouchable” phenomena like racism and sexism as demonstrated in her exhibition EDEWA (http://www.edewa.info). This enables her to connect theory and practice and highlight the importance and necessity of the transfer-lines between politics, academia and society. Her dissertation titled: “Afrokultur. ‘der raum zwischen gestern und morgen’” (Unrast Verlag 2016) deals with the life and works of W. E. B. Du Bois, Audre Lorde and May Ayim, three Black knowledge workers who framed Afro-German identity. Kelly’s debut film “Milli’s Awakening” was commissioned by the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art and is the winner of the Black Laurel Film Award 2018. The publication of the same name is available at www.NatashaAKelly.com
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