Nero Su Bianco | On The Afro-Italian Identity At The American Academy In Rome

by GRIOT - Published on 10/06/2015

On May 26 the American Academy in Rome opened NERO su BIANCO (Black on White), a provocative interrogation of race and identity in contemporary Italy, envisioned by 27 visual artists (scholars and writers) – many of them closely affiliated with the Academy – from Africa, Europe and the United States.

The exhibition, curated by Lyle Ashton Harris, Robert Storr, and AAR arts director Peter Benson Miller, explores the radical shifts in perceptions of Afro Italian identity and subjectivity in contemporary Italy, from cultural, social and political points of view.

In its attempt to get to the core of the issue, the Academy is launching a special review on the Afro Italian identity, starting on June 11. The review will involve historians, filmmakers, designers, writers in a program of three meetings (two more organized in collaboration with Letterature Festival, on June 16 and 18) addressed to those who are curious to explore the theme from a different and more interesting point of view.

American Academy & GRIOT
Afro Italians in the arts today
Thursday, July 9 | 6 pm | American Academy | Via Masina 5 | Rome
Obviously we at GRIOT could not miss the opportunity to organize an informal round-table discussion with a new generation of Italians making a mark in literature, cinema, television and fashion. Four creatives who through their work, are not only enriching Italian cultural and artistic hybridity – nationally and internationally -, but also represent a point of reference both for a new generation of Italians – born from African migrants that eventually chose to stay in Italy – who sometimes struggle to find a place in the Italian society, and for Italians in general.

Who are they?  Italian-Haitian fashion designer Stella Jean; Italian-Ghanian documentary director Fred Kuwornu; Italian-Angolan writer Antonio Dikele DistefanoItalian-Eritrean tv and radio host Wintana Rezene.

Griot Magazine -Afro Italians in the Arts Today

The conversation, moderated by film critic Marco Giusti, will consider their accomplishments in various fields, assessing at the same time their status in an Italy transformed by immigration.

More NERO su BIANCO scheduled events
Thursday, June 11 | 6:30 pm | American Academy | Via Masina 5
William Demby | African Americans in Postwar Rome
A round-table discussion about African American intellectuals, actors and musicians in Rome in the postwar period featuring a video interview with the late William Demby, writer, art critic, translator, actor, and journalist. Demby first arrived in Rome in 1943 as part of the Allied invasion of Italy; he returned in 1947 and quickly became a prominent figure in cultural circles after the publication of his first book Beetlecreek in 1950.

His experimental novel The Catacombs (1965) subtly explores the subjectivity of an African American intellectual in an international context.

Griot-magazine-William Demby
William Demby acting in”Il Peccato di Anna”, 1952

A friend to artists and a translator (and occasional actor) at Cinecittà, Demby was as adept at writing about the postcolonial situation in the Horn of Africa, as he was collaborating with Fellini or explaining the work of artists such as Francesco Lo Savio and Mario Schifano.

Following the screening of excerpts from a video interview with William Demby, conducted by Co-Founder and Director of “Lo Schermo dell’Arte Film Festival” in Florence Silvia Lucchesi in 2004, art historian and critic Christian Caliandro will conduct a discussion about the community of African Americans who made a major mark in postwar Rome.

Thursday, July 16 | 6.30 pm | American Academy | Via Masina 5
Alicia Garza, the charismatic co-founder of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, will speak about new forms of social and political activism targeting racism in all its forms.
Griot-Magazine-American Academy Rome - Black Lives Matter

From Thursday to Saturday |4 to 7 pm
On display until July 19, 2015
Closed on June 5

Feautured Artists
Terry Adkins, Francesco Arena, Bridget Baker, Elisabetta Benassi, Adam Broomberg/Oliver Chanarin, Alessandro Ceresoli, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Onyedika Chuke, Theo Eshetu, Lyle Ashton Harris, Emily Jacir, Invernomuto, Vincenzo Latronico/Armin Linke, Meleko Mokgosi, Senam Okudzeto, Jebila Okongwu, Pietro Ruffo, Lorna Simpson, Giuseppe Stampone, Justin Randolph Thompson, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, Stanley Whitney, Fred Wilson.

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