#HEALING Dakar\Berlin || Feb 2021
Gaps, holes, erasures are spectral wounds in the flesh of history. In the context of the Black Atlantic and African history, how can repair – beyond material reparation – acknowledge that former and future memories, relations and possibilities can never be fully restituted? Is it possible to heal the colonial wound and what haunts the present time, in the social body and collective consciousness, retrieving missing voices, unveiled stories and reclaiming other ways of knowing, being and relating?
Together with Maya V. El Zanaty, Yayra Sumah and Esther Poppe, Alessadra is taking part in the convening team for #HEALING - an edition of the three years long project called the New Alphabet School initiated in 2019 by the HKW (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin).
The New Alphabet is intended both as a diagnosis and a provocation: vernacular, opaque, or marginalized ways of knowing are increasingly subsumed into abstract universalizing structures. What strategies of resistance against such processes of forced alphabetization exist or could be developed? And which role do artistic methods of appropriation and creolization play in this context?
This edition of the New Alphabet School will focus on afro-diasporic or folk healing practices, therapeutic or shamanistic modes of cure and restoration and Indigenous, decolonial and feminist practices that hold a transformative power. What is their role in the maintenance of personal and social well-being? The lens will be on sacredness, spirituality, connection with the land and the ancestors, with the human and more-than-human elements, through dance, sound, orality and ritual ceremonies. HEALING here is understood as a process of repairing traumatic relationships through non-Western epistemologies and cosmovisions. It is about unlearning hegemonic and Western-centric patterns, including extractivist forms of knowledge appropriation. Thus the #HEALING edition is an offering to investigate the potential for healing society from systemic forms of oppression like colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy and modernity.
Holding space with choreographer and dancer Germaine Acogny, artists Tabita Rezaire, Ami Weickaane and Ibaaku, vocalist Kalsoum, master of ceremony from the Thiant and storytellers from the Griot traditions among others, the New Alphabet School in Dakar takes form as a three-day residency bringing together healers, artists, practitioners and scholars to share healing traditions and technologies grounded in indigenous and ancestral knowledge systems. Parallel workshops und divinatory sessions will be convened online by participants of the New Alphabet School.
Convened by Maya V. El Zanaty, Alessandra Pomarico, Yayra Sumah and Esther Poppe
In cooperation with RAW Material Company, École de Sables and Bibliothèque Terme Sud.
head image credits:
Tabita Rezaire | Dilo, 2017 | Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa