École du soir

Six Films, from Rwanda and Beyond

With Kivu Ruhorahoza, Rahima Gambo, Philbert Aimé Mbabazi, Amelia Umuhire, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, and Wanuri Kahiu in conversation with Natacha Nsabimana, Ogemdi Ude, Aïcha Diallo, Yasmina Price, Andros Zins-Browne, and Shariffa Ali

Convened by Christian Nyampeta

It is almost obsolete to mention that the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus has created a crisis, a word that refers to a crossroad, or more accurately, to the lack thereof. What started as a health crisis has created an absence of an outside—it is not easy to imagine an exile from the current tension. “Usually,” during a militarized conflict, one tries to flee to a neighboring country. But where can one escape a pandemic? In contrast, this current totality is implanted in the word pandemic itself: pan (all) demos (people). This panoramic dimension compels us to connect the plural experiences of this pandemic with other crises that now seem located in past times and remote places such as Rwanda, but are actually still shifting the way the world thinks and sees itself.

At the same time, the past weeks have accelerated the widening of the already large digital divide between regions and art institutions that can pivot to a larger online presence, and those regions, histories, and times that are not able to do so.

Which is why it is more urgent than ever to start “a linking of phrases,” so that, as depicted in some of the selected films, those phrases from times that seem distant from the screen and the places that may feel remote from the engines of global communication may come into dialog with those who now live solely online, as as is the case in much of New York.

Presented a week each, the following six films are not direct points of comparison to the current crisis but reflection devices that draw from localized specificities and historical events, in order to make a linking with the pandemic. The sense of isolation, alienation, and despair felt today finds echoes in these films, as their makers navigate the afterlives of the crises that still shape their present. Effectively, although the geographic and economic scales of the current pandemic are unprecedented, the films bring home the fact that some members of the societies in which the films are located feel or have felt as though their existence is a form of quarantine, characterized long before this moment by trans-generational trauma, the disappearance of habitable environments, exile, and even genocidal brutalities that take away the ability to mourn. Each film is accompanied by a newly commissioned dialog that loosely relates the film to the ongoing pandemic.

This program is an iteration of “École du soir” or the evening school, a multiform hosting structure for collective thinking, action, and reflection convened by artist Christian Nyampeta. It expands upon the idea of Senegalese film director and novelist Sembène Ousmane, who considered cinema to be an “evening school” informed by orality, sensuality, and conviviality within the realm of art learning and making in his region, as well as by the visual and textual histories, social struggles, and hopes, in mutuality between his own locality and the world at large. An evening is a moment of suspension, a sanatorium of time, as it awaits the resolution of celestial forces. It is neither day nor night: it is a rapid standstill and in it reverberates the current conditions of “our” quarantine.

Six Films, from Rwanda and Beyond is a program convened by Christian Nyampeta as part of Artist Cinemas, a long-term, online series of film programs curated by artists for e-flux Video & Film. École du soir will run from April 29 through June 9, 2020, with each film running for one week and featuring an interview with the filmmaker by an invited guest.

Artist Christian Nyampeta convenes the Nyanza Working Group of Another Roadmap School. His recent solo exhibitions include École du soir at SculptureCenter in New York; A Flower Garden of All Kinds of Loveliness Without Sorrow at the Museum of Contemporary Art GfZK in Leipzig, co-commissioned with Contour Biennale 9 in Mechelen, and co-produced with Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, Perdu Amsterdam, and Wilfried Lentz Gallery in Rotterdam; and Words after the World at Camden Arts Centre in London. He contributed to the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2019; the Dakar Biennial 2018; and the 11th Gwangju Biennial in 2016. Nyampeta runs Radius, an online and occasionally inhabitable radio station, and he completed a PhD in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. He was awarded The Art Prize Future of Europe 2019 at the Museum of Contemporary Art GfZK in Leipzig, and the European Union Prize at the 12th Bamako Encounters—African Biennial of Photography.

1–6
Artist Cinemas presents
Wanuri Kahiu, Pumzi | École du soir: Six Films, from Rwanda and Beyond – Week #6
Wednesday, June 3–Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Artist Cinemas presents
Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Promised Lands | École du soir: Six Films, from Rwanda and Beyond – Week #5
Wednesday, May 27–Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Artist Cinemas presents
Rahima Gambo, A Walk | École du soir: Six Films, from Rwanda and Beyond – Week #2
Wednesday, May 6–Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Artist Cinemas presents
Kivu Ruhorahoza, Grey Matter | École du soir: Six Films, from Rwanda and Beyond - Week #1
Wednesday, April 29—Tuesday, May 5, 2020
Contributors
A-B
Shariffa Ali

is an international creative leader committed to working with an open heart at the intersection of the performing arts and humanitarianism. Originally from Kenya and raised South Africa, Shariffa has been a New York resident since 2013, working primarily as a director, community organizer, and administrator at The Public Theater and The New Group, among others. Her debut virtual reality short Atomu is part of the official selection at the Sundance Film Festival 2020.

C-D
Aïcha Diallo

has developed transcultural ideas and formats in arts and cultures, education, activism, academia, philanthropy, civil society, case management, and project design—particularly within the context of marginalized populations and perspectives.

G-H
Rahima Gambo

is a Nigerian multimedia artist and photographer who came to artistic practice by working independently on long-form trans-media documentary projects. Gambo currently explores an expanded moving photography through the narrative and experimental capabilities of “walking” as it intersects with the documentary form, psycho-spiritual-geography, sociopolitics, urban environment, and autobiography.

K-L
Wanuri Kahiu

is a Kenyan film director, producer, and author. Her films have received several awards and nominations, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture for her feature film From a Whisper at the 2009 Africa Movie Academy Awards. In 2010, her short science-fiction film Pumzi premiered at Sundance film festival and went on to win best short film at Cannes Independent Film Festival, among other awards. Kahiu is co-founder of AFROBUBBLEGUM, a media collective dedicated to supporting African art.

M-N
Philbert Aimé Mbabazi Sharangabo

Philbert Aimé Mbabazi Sharangabo’s short film I Got My Things And Left won the Grand Prize of the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival in 2019. He is currently developing his first feature film Spectrum, set in Geneva. Mbabazi Sharangabo lives between Switzerland and Rwanda where he is also developing Minimals in a Titanic World, a feature film set in Kigali. He runs Imitana Productions, a Rwanda-based production company, that produces his work and that of the vibrant young filmmakers scene in Kigali.

Natacha Nsabimana

is a socio-cultural anthropologist working at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests include law and subjectivity, postcolonial critique, musical movements, and the cultural and political worlds of African peoples on the continent and in the diaspora.

Christian Nyampeta

convenes the Nyanza Working Group of Another Roadmap School. His recent solo exhibitions include École du soir at SculptureCenter in New York; A Flower Garden of All Kinds of Loveliness Without Sorrow at the Museum of Contemporary Art GfZK in Leipzig, co-commissioned with Contour Biennale 9 in Mechelen, and co-produced with Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, Perdu Amsterdam, and Wilfried Lentz Gallery in Rotterdam; and Words after the World at Camden Arts Centre in London.

O-P
Yasmina Price

is a writer and researcher, currently a PhD student in the Departments of African American Studies and Film and Media Studies at Yale University. She works with anti-colonial African cinema and the subversive, politically charged production of filmmakers across the Black diaspora, with a particular interest in the experimental visual practices of women filmmakers.

Q-R
Kivu Ruhorahoza

is a filmmaker, author, photographer, and producer based in Kigali. His feature film Grey Matter won the Jury Special Mention for Best Emerging Filmmaker at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and the Ecumenical Jury Special Mention at the 2011 Warsaw Film Festival. His most recent film, Europa: “Based on a True Story,” is a drama about a Nigerian asylum seeker in the UK who, after his death, appears to his ex as a ghost in order to tell his story, and demand a presence that was denied him as an asylum seeker.

U-V
Ogemdi Ude

is a choreographer, educator, and doula based in Harlem, New York. Ude’s work addresses African Diasporic intergenerational trauma through intimate and collaborative performance-making, and focuses on the wellness of black, brown, femme, and queer communities.

Amelia Umuhire

is a German filmmaker of Rwandan descent based in Berlin. Umuhire had her directorial debut in 2015 with the web series Polyglot, which is still available for viewing on YouTube. She has since won numerous awards, including Best German Web Series for that work, and has gone on to produce several short films.

W-X
Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa

, born in Glasgow, is formerly a participant in the LUX Associate Artist Program and a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academy, and currently a doctoral candidate in Fine Art at the University of Bergen, Norway and Convener of the Africa Cluster of the Another Roadmap School. Her recent and upcoming exhibitions include Actually, the Dead Are Not Dead (Bergen Assembly 2019, Bergen), Women on Aeroplanes (The Showroom, London and Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw) and We Don’t Need Another Hero (10th Berlin Biennale of Contemporary Art).

Y-Z
Andros Zins-Browne

is a choreographer born in New York, who lives and works between New York City and Brussels.In collaboration with choreographer Will Rawls, Andros has recently presented two “remixes”—one on the work of video artist Tony Cokes, commissioned by the 10th Berlin Biennale, and another of the performance piece See-Saw by avant-garde choreographer Simone Forti at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Atlas Unlimited—a series of exhibitions in collaboration with artist Karthik Pandian—addresses movement, destruction, and re-construction through sculpture and performance. In 2013, Zins-Browne founded The Great Indoors, an association for artistic research and production.

École du soir 1–6 Contributors
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