BLAQ•IT: Representing Blackness in Italy

February 16, 2021
Magazzino Da Casa

Since its inception, Magazzino has been devoted to fostering a multidisciplinary and culturally open discourse through the arts and shaping cultural proximity between Italy and the USA. In an ongoing commitment to its communities and the civic urgencies they face, Magazzino inaugurates Pensiero Plurale, a new series of programs curated by Ilaria Conti. The project explores diversity in culture and the arts from a multidisciplinary perspective, involving artists, scholars, and cultural practitioners in a multi-year series of conversations that shed light on shared questions and critical approaches across Italy and the United States.

Filmmaker, scholar and activist Fred Kuwornu will lead a live-streamed conversation on the visual histories of Blackness in post-war Italian culture. Inaugurating a new multi-year series entitled Pensiero Plurale, organized by Magazzino Italian Art and curated by Ilaria Conti, Kuwornu will address issues of diversity and the complexities of representation through the lens of his films. For over a decade, Kuwornu, an Italian-Ghanaian independent scholar, has been involved in narrating and analyzing the experience of the African diaspora in Italy from historical, sociological, and political perspectives. Utilizing examples of visual culture ranging from the 1930s to 2020s, Fred will illuminate conceptions of Blackness underlying contemporary Italian culture. While speaking to the specificities of the Black Lives Matter and anti-racist and citizenship rights movement in Italy, Fred will shed light on how younger generations of creatives, activists, and entrepreneurs have created positive change and established new methods of cultural production in their fields. 

To accompany the live talk, from February 14, 2021 through February 16, 2021, Magazzino will share access to Fred Kuwornu’s film Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema on magazzino.art/magazzinodacasa. This diasporic, hybrid, and critical documentary describes the representation of Blackness in Italian cinema from 1915 to present day. From the perspectives of Afro-Italian; African-American; Afro-Caribbean and African diasporic actors, a population seldom heard from, the film discloses the personal struggles actors faced in establishing a career. More than documenting the history of Blackness in Italian film and media, Blaxploitalian is a call to action, shedding light on the entanglement between lack of media and socio-political disenfranchisement.