Black Is the Journey, Africana the Name with Maboula Soumahoro, Omar Berrada and Oceana James

Talk
Photo of Oceana James, Maboula Soumahoro and Omar Berrada

Patricia Khan | Sarah Riggs

Villa Albertine Headquarters
972 Fifth Avenue
New York, US 10075
December 1, 2021 | 6pm
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Join Villa Albertine Resident Maboula Soumahoro for the release of Black is the Journey, Africana the Name in English translation. In a conversation with writer and curator Omar Berrada, Soumahoro will explore the theoretical inquiry into race, racism, blackness, and identity today and the question of transmission that translation underpins and even determines. The evening will feature readings by theater artist Oceana James.

In her highly original work, Maboula Soumahoro explores the cultural and political vastness of the Black Atlantic. Africa, Europe, and the Americas were tied together by the brutal realities of the slave trade and colonialism, but each of these spaces has its own way of reading the Black body and the Black experience. By weaving together her personal history with that of France and its abiding myth of color-blindness, Soumahoro highlights the banality and persistence of structural racism in France and shows that freedom will be found in the journey between the sites of the Atlantic triangle. Africana is the name of that freedom.

Maboula Soumahoro is an associate professor at the University of Tours and specialist of Africana Studies. She has taught in several universities and prisons across the United States and France. She is the author of Le Triangle et l’Hexagone, réflexions sur une identité noire (La Découverte), translated by Dr. Kaiama L. Glover as Black Is the Journey, Africana the Name (ed. Polity, 2021). For her residency project at Villa Albertine, Soumahoro is exploring the question of translation and adaptation. Using Black Is the Journey, Africana the Name as the starting point for creating a multimedia performance, she seeks to highlight the complexity and depth of black subjectivities and the full humanity of those who have been excluded.

Omar Berrada is a writer and curator whose work focuses on the politics of translation and intergenerational transmission. He recently authored the poetry collection Clonal Hum and co-edited La Septième Porte, Ahmed Bouanani’s history of cinema in Morocco. Omar teaches at The Cooper Union where he co-organizes the IDS Lecture Series.

Oceana James is an interdisciplinary artist. Her work is an examination/re-telling/ re-imagining of her Caribbean indigeneity. It is a commentary on the socio-political, cultural, and economic realities of peoples of African descent. In her work, James deconstructs the idea of language as one’s sole means of communication and experiments with the use of time, space, non-linear form, and movement to do this.


Due to COVID requirements, capacity is limited at this event. Proof of vaccination will be required on entry.