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Oeuvres by Vanessa Fernandes & Medhin Paolos

Publicado em: Oeuvres by Vanessa Fernandes & Medhin Paolos

This is an open event of the CES Summer School Endangered Theories: Standing by Critical Race Theory in the Age of Ultra-Violence | CES Alta, Coimbra, Portugal | June 26-30, 2023.


“Mikambaru” (Portugal 2016, 31′) by Vanessa Fernandes

“Mikambaru” is a word invented by one of the characters’ alter ego. The film reflects on the post-colonial African diaspora and the relationship with the “Other”. It questions the mental and emotional borders that change from generation to generation, through the poem “Construir” by Alda Espírito Santo. It’s a fairy tale, analyzing stereotypes, archetypes and religious figures who tell their own story.

“Tradição e imaginação” (Benim 2018, 4’32”) by Vanessa Fernandes

In Benin, people still talk about the fear of the sea, memories of a past of slavery are preserved, a memory that endures. It is on the main road of the city of Ouidah, “The slave route”, in the heavy abandonment monuments, in the patterns of gestures danced to the sound of the wind and the sea. It is the words of the ancients that revitalize the light, and the hope of finding what was lost.

“Abro mais uma gaveta” (Portugal 2021, 2‘14‘‘) by Vanessa Fernandes

To the sound of Raquel Lima’s voice and poem, gestures, references and common pasts also emerge from the drawer, intertwine, dance and sew a path between word and image.

“Mar inventado” (Portugal 2021,2‘44‘) by Vanessa Fernandes

com Voz e poema de Matamba Joaquim, imagem, performance e realização de Vanessa Fernandes

“Asmarina” (Italy 2015, 69′), a film by Alan Maglio, Medhin Paolos

Voices and Images of a Postcolonial Heritage is a documentary film about the Habesha (Eritrean and Ethiopian) community in Milan that bridges the present life of this community to the historical legacies of Italian colonialism in the Horn of Africa.

The research and the filming of Asmarina directly engaged people and their accounts while connecting those stories to printed and audiovisual material found in institutional archives. Asmarina is thus the result of a meticulous collective research project that tells a more complete story of the colonial relationship between Italy and Eritrea, bringing to light the  postcoloniality of the Eritrean-Ethiopian diaspora in Italy that has been little scrutinized up to now: the everyday life stories of those who have lived in the city for years, those who were born in Italy and the day-to-day experiences of the refugees who have just arrived.The Habesha community has been present in Italy for over half a century and has been actively integrated into the social and cultural life of Italy.The goal of the film is to bring attention to the collective memories of this community, piecing together peoples’ stories: their immigrant and transnational experiences, their memories of colonialism, their multiple and intersectional identities, as well as their hopes and dreams.


Bio notes

Vanessa Fernandes is a filmmaker, performer and visual artist. She was born in Guinea-Bissau in 1978, and lived in Paris, Macau, Porto, and Germany. In 2012 she returned to Porto where she has lived since. She holds a Master in Film and Television Directing by ESAP (2016). In 2019, she created the video installation “Stand Here” at Hangar – Lisbon Art Research Center for the 8°Triangle Network and participated in the collective exhibition “Unearthing Memories” with the Interstruct collective at RAMPA – Porto. She then directed short films such as “Tradition and imagination” (2018), Mikambaru”( 2016), “Si destinu” (2015), Fiji”(2017), “Cura”(2017), “MadMudPool”(2018) and the series for RTPLAb “Matemática Salteada”(2018), In 2021, she presented “Mikambaru” at DocLisboa for the session “Cinema for an anti-racist struggle”, participated in the “Meeting(s) – Women in Decolonization – Ways of Seeing and Knowing” at Hangar Artistic Research Center and Aljube Museum, and presented “the cocoon thread” – Espectro Visivel Project (in partnership with Ivo Reis) at the International Film Festival of Córdoba – Argentina. In the same year, she created the project “The Invisible Side of Water” for the international exhibition “The European Humanities R&D Exhibition” by FCT and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. In 2021 she was also DOP for the film “Mudança” by Welket Bungué, selected for the Berlinale. She was invited to international debates and conferences, among which, in 2016 the international conference, organized by the Centro de Estudos Africanos do Porto “The struggle of women in African cinema and the Middle East”, in 2019 the “Afroeuropeans Studies Conference” and “For us, for us: African cultural production”.

Medhin Paolos is filmmaker, photographer, musician and social justice activist. Her work focuses on diaspora, citizenship, migration and queerness. For ten years Paolos was part of the folk-electronic band Fiamma Fumana bringing forward the female vocal tradition of the Mondine of Northern Italy and performed internationally at venues like WOMAD, Womex and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Paolos is the co-founder of the Milan chapter of Rete G2-Seconde Generazioni, a national organization that promotes the human and civic rights of descendants of immigrants in Italy. In recent years, she has been awarded fellowships at Harvard University, MIT Institute of Technology and Wellesley College. She’s currently a Professor of the Practice at Tufts University, conceptualizing an educational platform for bringing a plurality of voices, histories, and cultures to the forefront through media and artistic interventions.

Fonte: Oeuvres by Vanessa Fernandes & Medhin Paolos
Feed: Centro de estudos Sociais – Eventos
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