Note from BW of Brazil: Needless to say, I’m very excited about this project! Over the years since media became such a powerful medium for telling stories, spreading news and influencing the imaginations of billions of people, it would be a massive understatement to say that the Afro-Brazilian narrative has been grossly under-represented. This is not to say it is completely invisible. If one never knew of the existence of Afro-Brazilians and their history there are some great works available on the topic, but in comparison to EuroCentric narratives or others in the African Diaspora, the legacy of Africa’s descendants in Brazil is severely lacking in terms of audiovisual representation. Which is why projects such as AfroTranscendence are so vitally important. Below is how Paulo Jorge, Jr. over at Hype Br and the makers of AfroTranscendence themselves, NoBrasil, describe the project.
The first edition of the AfroTranscendence project was born with the aim of encouraging the exchange of knowledge generating new connections, possibilities and looks from the union of traditional and contemporary knowledge of black cultures around the world. The program aims to work with technology and knowledge of Afro-Brazilian culture with contemporary issues. Among the topics addressed are memory and ancestry, articulation in networks, local vs. global, the Wi-Fi diaspora, as well as discussions related to the use of digital media and urban space.
On the list of mentors, are names such as Mãe Beth de Oxum, a symbol Pernambuco (northeastern state) culture that talks about Coco da Umbigada (1), the Minas Gerais native Paulo Nazareh, one of the most important Brazilian artists of today, and the musician Tiganá Santana, who speaks about his research in a “palestra cantada” (sung speech). Mestre TC, the second guest of the project, is a great articulator of digital culture, founder of Casa de Cultura Tainã (House of Tainã Culture) and Rede Mocambos, a network that through the use of free software, have made possible the contact between various quilombo communities through communication technologies.
A native of northern Minas Gerais, of indigenous origins, Mayra Fonseca holds a Master’s in Anthropology, Initiator and Editor in Chief of the Brasis, a center of content and network of research of projects to stimulate self-knowledge of Brazil in propositional form. She is a specialist in cultural diversity and languages, with a degree in Social Communication from PUC Minas and a Masters in Anthropology and Ethnography from the University of Barcelona, Spain. For over twelve years, she’s worked with cultural and behavioral research in several parts of Brazil and Latin America.
Goli Guerreiro is a writer, researcher and anthropologist. Post-doctoral degree in urban anthropology and letters. Author of the Terceira Diáspora: deslocamento virtual de signos negros (Third diaspora: virtual displacement of black signs). She has six published books, most recently the novel Alzira está morta (Alzira is dead), winner of the João Ubaldo Ribeiro edict.
For the creative director and curator of NoBrasil, Diane Lima, the goal is to inspire participants and exercise new ways of looking and creating. “The creative process is a space of decision, choice and power and AfroTranscendence is the result of these concerns,” she says. “We are experiencing without a doubt a special moment and maybe never seen before for us, people of African descent. The event has as a source of inspiration all of this movement, connected and employing creative energy in search of transformation, sharing feelings in networking, hacking the look of whoever sees us and doing with this, our body politic a decolonization apparatus of thought.
NoBrasil releases web series AfroTranscendence
Directed by Yasmin Thayná and written by Diane Lima, the series of 12 chapters discusses racism, memory, artistic practices and the necessity of us producing knowledge as a political act
“WHY DO I WRITE? BECAUSE I HAVE TO. BECAUSE MY VOICE, OF ALL MY DIALECTS, THERE’S BEEN A STATE OF SILENCE FOR A LONG TIME.”
PLANTATION MEMORIES – GRADA KILOMBA.
Producing and disseminating knowledge. It is with this thought that the research and curatorship platform NoBrasil, launched the web series AfroTranscendence, an audio-visual material that comes to share the educational experience and the collective learning of the immersion program in creative processes AfroTranscendence, which took place in October 2015 in Red Bull Station in São Paulo.
The project brought together for three days, 20 people from various fields of expertise from every corner of Brazil along with 20 experts, among them intellectuals, activists, cultural workers and artists, to experience a collective learning experience that would encourage the activation of our memory and allow the creation of new narratives and languages, now launching the web series made with the participation of a team that worked on it collaboratively.
Diane Lima, who wrote the series and is also the founder and curator of the project, says that the content comes at an important moment when the articulation of network has allowed exchanges to create new realization strategies, creation and production of knowledge: “AfroTranscendence came about as a response to suppression of our values and especially as a way to reconnect us so that together we can create new narratives, writing and being subjects of our own history.
This step was only possible thanks to the participation of such a competent and passionate team, which is directed by Yasmin Thayná, production by Hanayrá Negreiros, direction of photography by Raphael Medeiros, montage by Renato Vallone, sound by Avelino Regicide and stills by Alile Dara Onawale. It is also important to say that making this material made me think how for us it is still difficult to produce content even if we are committed and interested in being part of projects that talk about us. I see that writing, directing and producing for us was then a political act: an image in movement that creates and occupies spaces and brings other learning possibilities in resistance to the institutionalized epistemicide within Brazilian intellectual and educational production. May it be shared and reach as far as possible, serving as research material in Brazil.”
Yasmin Thayná, who directed 12 episodes shortly after the success of the K-bela film, a short that inaugurated in 2015 an important discussion on the production of films made by black women filling up halls and with it, allowing a new look on the idea of national film distribution, says that directing the series was for her and for all, a great learning experience, “There I realized how a meeting is capable of generating so much knowledge. It was great to learn what Mãe Beth de Oxum brings in demand for change and democratization of communication and Mestre TC, who teaches us the importance of being connected to earth, us, blacks: our dance has a direct connection to the earth, jongo, funk, capoeira, samba. With Diane I learned that we need to be masters of our narrative and our imagination.
With From Hanayrá that we need other production models, lesser and lesser embranquecidos (whitened), from Raphael, the thousand and one possibilities that we have to think of with image, which confirms my thoughts about the references that can be brought to the world from the creation of new images. With Regicida, sound as a powerful support and part of the narrative that reflects the sensoriality that no image can produce; from Alile Dara I always learn how to look through photography that which we do not always get to see and from Renato the breathing of time. I just learned.”
Among the interviewees are the mentors of the first edition of AfroTranscendence, among them, Mestre TC, Mãe Beth de Oxum, Paulo Nazareth and artist Daniel Lima, one of the most active Brazilian artists and who announces the first chapter of the series: “during AfroT we launched the question to Criar ou Ocupar espaços (creating or occupying spaces)? which is now the subject of my master’s research at PUC-SP and it is with this question that we inaugurated this video where Daniel talks about the importance of us occupying spaces, expanding the institutional limits in which racism fatally makes itself present but, also saying that at times it is necessary to actually create new spaces, in the sense of creating new values by making of this body black an enunciator of its own history,” added Diane.
I am racializing the discussion in the sense of understanding that we experienced the greatest slavery of the…
The series will be released every two weeks and you can follow it here, on NoBrasil channels and AfroTranscendence.
Create and Share, you also knowledge. #crieasuanarrativa # compartilheasuahistória
About Daniel Lima:
In our eyes, Daniel Lima is one of the most active and representative Brazilian artists of today. Since 2001 he has created interventions and interferences in urban areas, integrating collective such as Frente 03 de fevereiro (February 03 Front) that has as a legendary work the Bandeiras action that discussed racism in Brazilian futebol. In Bandeiras the field of action was the futebol stadium where the group, having the support of organized fans, unfurled giant banners that due to the great media projection of the match, generated great repercussions and impact. They said: “Brasil Negro Salve (Hail Black Brazil), Onde estão os negros? (where are the blacks?) and Zumbi Somos Nós (We are Zumbi).”
A bachelor of Plastic Arts from the School of Communication and Arts of USP (University of São Paulo) and Master of the Nucleus of Subjectivity Studies at PUC/SP, he conducts research related to media, racial issues and educational processes. He directs and produces Invisíveis Produções.
- A cultural manifestation coming from the Matriz Africana Ilê Axé Oxum Karê terreiro promoted 15 years in the Beco da Macaíba, in the Bairro do Guadalupe, in Olinda, Pernambuco.