From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

ExPost: un archivio futuro di pratiche artistiche e performance afromediterranee in Italia

Gianpaolo Chiriacò e Serena Guarracino


ExPost: some thoughts on a future archive of artistic practices related to migration in Italy. “Expressing Africas: Analysis of Artistic Practices Related to African Diasporas within a Postcolonial Context” is the title of a research project designed by a collective of young scholars from various disciplinary areas. The research looks at the ways in which the Afro-Mediterranean migrant imagination is expressed in Italy through artistic practices such as literature, music, and the visual and performance arts. The study on migration from sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb has only recently profited from a new attention to the cultural expressions that embody the hopes and ordeals embedded in these global flows, shaping ever-changing aesthetic universes. The analysis of the African diaspora through related creative practices, from the present as well as from the past, demands to recognize how migration contributes to the elaboration of Italian identity as well as to its deconstruction as an authoritative discourse in the socio-political debate. The archive collecting these practices will necessarily be ‘future’ or ‘living’, as Arjun Appadurai writes, but also ex post, witnessing and interpreting the role that writers, musicians and artists already play in the media and within the academy. This paper will use Gabriella Ghermandi’s work as a case study. The author of a well-known novel titled Regina di fiori e di perle (2007), Ghermandi has recently oriented her practices to musical performances. Since 2013, she has been singing, together with her Atse Tewodros Project, what she defines as “songs Ethiopian partisans sang while marching to fight against the Fascist army.” Through an analysis of the audio-visual documentation of one of her 2014 concerts, our contribution will focus on how her performance embodies a “cultural transit of the present,” working at the same time as re-memory of a removed past and practice of a democratic cohabitation ‘to come’. Ghermandi’s performing body is part of a future archive of migrant performances and performativities, but it also works as an archive of bodily, vocal and visual memories of colonial Italy, standing at the very crossroads between postcolonial criticism and artistic practices that ExPost aspires to map out.




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