The 2023 Black History Month Florence Program
Black History Month is being celebrated for the eighth year this month in Florence with art exhibitions, talks, screenings of short films, a concert series, and more.
This year’s theme is sforzando, which holds two meanings in the context of Black History Month. Sforzando is traditionally a musical term that means playing a single note suddenly and with strong emphasis. This edition’s events dedicated to celebrating Black culture and history will bring a strong focus to the long history of African descent culture in Italy. The second meaning comes from the Italian translation of sforzando, which is to exert force, representing the ways in which African people have prevailed in the face of adversity.
Since September 2021, The Recovery Plan @ SRISA is seeking to extend its successful annual runs of Black History Month Florence (BHMF) to a year-round endeavor. The Recovery Plan, located at via Santa Reparata 19, serves as a Black cultural center featuring in-depth research and an exhibition space for notable projects.
Collaborating with Black History Month Florence for the seventh year, the Murate Art District (piazza della Murate) is hosting a show entitled “Memory Effect” through March 2 (open Tuesday – Saturday 2:30 – 7 pm). The four installations by different artists comprise land art, short videos, and recordings of poetry in various languages. Each brings to light a different aspect of Black History, including apartheid and the French colonization of West Africa.
Two exhibitions dedicated to artists Jermay Michael Gabriel and Georges Senga will take place at Villa Romana (via Senese 68) from February 23 – March 5 will display objects associated with Black culture sold on the antiques market that reflect on the exploitation associated with colonialism.
The Santa Reparata International School of Art (SRISA) on via San Gallo 53 is also holding the exhibition entitled SONIC LIFE/SOCIAL THEFT until March 26, which presents an interdisciplinary approach to Black sound archival material including jungle, trap and contemporary keyboard pagode from Bahia.
The research of young Black activists focusing on countering Afrophobia and increasing the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms will be presented at Palazzo Vecchio’s Sala d’Arme on February 10 (5 pm) in collaboration with the U.S. State Department.
“All The Way Live” is a conversation moderated by Justin Randolph Thompson on February 23, discussing the subject of sound in relation to self-preservation and resistance (The Recovery Plan, via Santa Reparata 19, 6:30 pm). At the same venue there will be a discussion moderated by students of the United World College of the Adriatic on the topic of pre-colonial African history (February 28, 6:30 pm).
A concert series featuring a variety of African artists will be staged at various venues from February 23 – 26: CANGO, Prato’s Luigi Pecci Contemporary Art Center, Villa Romana, and The Recovery Plan, showcasing Nexcyia, Sadi, Muna Mussie, Bartira, Jermay Michael Gabriel & STILL and muSa Michelle Mattiuzzi.
People of African descent will talking about their experiences in Italian communities in four short films screened on February 11 (Chiasso Perduto, via de’ Coverelli 4/r, 5 pm).
“Regard Noir” is a documentary highlighting the challenges Black women face in the working world, as well as their representation in films. This is being shown on February 22 at Palazzo Buontalenti (via Cavour 65/a, 6 pm), followed by a discussion moderated by Ruth Gbikpi and Tayla Ifwanga.
Black History Month draws attention to and educates the public on the history of African culture particularly in Italy. The events being organized by Black History Month Florence are incredible resources to learn more about this subject and has options for every age and interest. (Sofie Refojo)
For more information, visit the website.