Manthia Diawara, An Opera of the World + Ashanti Harris, The Forgotten Diaspora Performance Lecture at Africa in Motion Film Festival

29 October 2019

Kelvin Hall
1445 Argyle Street Glasgow G3 8AW
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An Opera of the World, Manthia Diawara on the island of Lesbos, 2016. Courtesy of the artist, Maumaus and Lumiar Cité

Manthia Diawara’s film, An Opera of the World (2017), is based on the African opera Bintou Were, a Sahel Opera, which recounts an eternal migration drama. The Bintou Were opera, filmed on location in Bamako in 2007, serves as a mirror for Diawara to build an aesthetic and reflexive story, through song and dance, about the current and yet timeless drama of migration between North and South, and the ongoing refugee crises. The film ponders on the realities of cultural encounters through the concepts of métissage and hybridity. The success and limits of fusing African and European perspectives are tested by interlacing performances from the Bintou Were opera, past and present archival footage of migrations, classic European arias, and interviews with European and African intellectuals, artists and social activists – including Alexander Kluge, Fatou Diome, Nicole Lapierre and Richard Sennett.

Following the screening Glasgow-based visual artist Ashanti Harris will present The Forgotten Diaspora Performance Lecture, which explores the historical presence and hidden legacies of Guyanese women in Scotland in the 18th and 19th century.

The screening and performance will be followed by a wine reception.

The event is organised and hosted in collaboration with African in Motion and Black History Month (University of Glasgow), and presented with support from FILMING RUINS, a screening and discussion programme at the University of Glasgow.

Manthia Diawara

Professor Diawara has written extensively in the field of Black cultural studies and African film, with his 1992 book African Cinema: Politics & Culture being one of the foundational texts on the history of African cinema. He is also an award-winning filmmaker, whose titles include Sembene: the Making of African Cinema (1994) – a collaboration with renowned Kenyan writer Ngûgî wa Thiong’o, Bamako Siki Kan (2003) and Negritude, a Dialogue between Soyinka and Senghor (2015).

Ashanti Harris

Ashanti Harris is a visual artist, teacher and researcher, working with sculpture, performance and installation. Harris’s work focuses on themes of mobilities – the movement of people, ideas and things as well as the broader social implications of these movements, specifically in relation to the diaspora of West Africa and The Caribbean. Alongside her creative practice, Harris also works collaboratively as part of the collective Glasgow Open Dance School (G.O.D.S) – facilitating experimental movement workshops, research groups and collaborative performances; and as co-founder of Project X – a creative education programme, platforming dance and performance from the African and Caribbean diaspora.