Europe is colourful, Europe is black, Europe is Jazz! Congolese poet Fiston Mwanza Mujila spreads a musical and poetical sound carpet out from Graz across Europe and introduces young voices of the black diaspora. For some time now he has been mapping the poetry of poets of African origin in Europe, for black poets are all too often nearly invisible in the European poetic ecosystem. But these powerful texts need to be discovered. Experiences and traditions from their countries of origin are inscribed in them as much as things experienced and observed in Europe; they negotiate the poets’ own cultural identity, as well as conflicts and important positions.
Together with Fiston Mwanza Mujila (born in 1981 in Congo) four authors are reading whom we should get to know: Simone Atangana Bekono (born in 1991 in the Netherlands) is especially concerned with the connection between body and identity. Dylan Thomas Prize winner Kayo Chigonyi (born in 1987 in Zambia) intertwines Rap and urban forms of expression with the orality of his poetry. Spoken Word artist Raquel Lima (born in 1983 in Portugal) has her roots in places like Angola and Sao Tomé. For her, the central element is orality, which, together with slavery and Afro-diasporic movements, are also her concerns as an academic. Berlin-based Steve Mekoudja (born in 1993 in Cameroon) combines poetry, music and movement in a new form of energy drink, thereby addressing topics such as ideas of Africanness and toxic masculinity.
The poems are read in English, French, Dutch and Portuguese. German translations of the poems are available in the video.
From 10 June, the video will be available in the media library with English translations of the poems, presented as subtitles.
The translators of the poems are into German: Ina Böhme, Mareen Bruns, Odile Kennel, Elisabeth Müller, Renée Von Paschen, Ira Wilhelm. Into English: David Colmer, Martin Earl, Bret Maney, Christèle Mapuku, Laurens van de Linde
Project organiser: Juliane Otto
Curated by: Fiston Mwanza Mujila
with Simone Atangana Bekono (Netherlands), Kayo Chingonyi (United Kingdom), Patrick Dunst (Austria), Raquel Lima (Portugal), Steve Mekoudja (Germany), Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Austria), Grilli Pollheimer (Austria)
Unheard Poetry – Europe’s Black Diaspora is supported with the kind assistance of the Federal Foreign Office, the Royal Dutch Embassy in Berlin, Nederlands Letterenfonds, The Austrian Culture Forum Berlin, and ISOP – Innovative Sozialprojekte, Graz.