Black History Month Florence: 5 Events You Don’t Want to Miss 


Bringing awareness to delicate topics should be the main urgency of the arts, and the 9th Edition of BHMF is here to remind us



By Giulia Piceni. Cover image courtesy of BHMF.

The experience of putting in a lot of effort and still going unnoticed can be frustrating, even for the most motivated individuals. For the ninth edition of Black History Month Florence, the theme Whole Rest was created as a response to the weariness and fatigue that comes from co-existing in a climate of constant disregard and insensitivity.
In a cultural landscape that has consistently benefited and exploited these same sources of knowledge and where marginalised histories are asked to prove their worth, this is an invitation to come together in Florence and share the rest as a collective protest against indifference.

Museo Novecento – Guided visit to Unsettling genealogies, 19.02 at 15:00

Alessandra Ferrini is an artist originally from Florence who lives in London, where she is a PhD student at UAL. Her practice fuses artistic ethos and research activity with the aim of questioning the legacies of Italian colonialism and fascism. Winner of the Maxxi Bvlgari Prize 2022, Alessandra Ferrini was invited to this year’s 60th Venice Biennale curated by Adriano Pedrosa.

The opening of the exhibition featuring her work titled Unsettling Genealogies at Museo Novecento is followed by a talk dedicated to the Italian translation of the novel L’Ascaro. Una storia anticoloniale (1927) by Ghebreyesus Hailu, commissioned by the artist herself.

The exhibition reports on Ferrini’s ongoing research since 2020. Particularly multifaceted, it considers the colonial and fascist origins of certain institutions and their founders from different angles, combining insights and personal stories with historical and theoretical reflections in an attempt to emphasise the affective dimension of history.

The Recovery Plan – Dialogue about the Congresso di scrittori e artisti neri, Roma (1959), 21.02 at 12:00 

This conversation is related to the opening of the exhibition Le Code Noir, which is dedicated to Hamedine Kane’s research. Kane’s reflections on the First and Second Congress of Black Writers and Artists are central to his consideration of Afro-diasporic literature and his visions of Pan-Africanism. The exhibition brings together research and works of art developed by Hamadine Kane during her stay at Villa Medici in Rome. Her work examines books, book covers, and translations of writings in the African diaspora that defined global perspectives on Black thought.

The visual literacy and biographical sketches that make up this research work address the circulation of pan-African traditions through texts and images. Curator Mistura Allison, whose research on the congress is anchored in notions of reactivation, will be in dialogue with the artist. The conversation at The Recovery Plan creates an opportunity for critical discussion and a powerful introduction to the artist’s mind and research.

The Recovery Plan – Movie projection and dialogue with movie director Esery Mondesir, 23.02 at 11:00

Esery Mondesir is a Toronto-based, Haitian-born video artist and filmmaker. He was a high school teacher and a labour organiser before receiving an MFA in Cinema Production from York University in 2017. Mondesir’s work draws from personal and collective memory, official archives, and vernacular records to suggest a reading of our society from its margins. His films explore migration and exile as sites of identity formation as well as cultural resistance. With a meticulous approach that transcends traditional storytelling, Mondesir’s work stands as a testament to the power of cinema to illuminate the human experience through a tapestry of unique connections.

Produced in collaboration with other members of the Haitian diaspora in Havana, Cuba and Tijuana, Mexico, his latest films have been exhibited in art galleries and film festivals around the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, the Open City Festival in London, UK, the Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Mondesir is an assistant professor at OCAD University in Toronto.

The Recovery Plan – Take Thy Stand Othello and Paul Roberson, 26.02 at 18:00

Based on the research carried out for his thesis in Theatre History, Jemma Robin Thompson discusses the relationship between art and activism, between representations and representativity, between stage and reality through a brief excursus about the theatrical history of Othello, a complex Shakespearean character. Thompson examines the most memorable interpretations of Othello, starting with the numerous stagings in blackface and the interpretative developments between the 19th and 20th centuries, and finally arriving at Paul Robeson.

Robeson was an African-American activist, athlete, singer and charismatic actor who made Othello his symbol of the political fight against segregationist and state racism of the early 20th century, racism of the early post-war, fascism and the Cold War.

The Recovery Plan – La Rappresentazione dell’Afrodiscendenza, 27.02 at 17:00

This event is a meeting with the young Italo-Senegalese actor Haroun Fall, who is currently starring in the Iliad, the play of the gods. Hewill share his experience in the field and will explore the issue of the representation of Afro-descendence in the world of performance in Italy.

Fields of Study

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