The Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève is pleased to present the AfroGreeks, an ongoing project by the Athens-based collective Døcumatism.
A collective community project about the African diasporas, the AfroGreeks was initiated in Greece in 2015. It encompasses an extensive series of videos, interviews, social interactions, research, and events.
The term Afro-Greek is a self-proclamation. It was used publicly for the first time in 2019 as the title of a video installation presented at a Døcumatism event that year. It launched the artistic movement documented here, doing much to stimulate a public discussion about the African diaspora communities in Athens and beyond. Initial events took place in the neighborhood of Kypseli, one of Athen’s most culturally diverse areas which had been marginalized for a long time. Over the years, Døcumatism has created a network of collaborators within a community whose protagonists are mostly second and third generation members of the African diasporas in Greece. Collected by Døcumatism, their stories highlight the problems of integration linked to their marginalized trajectories. The resulting archive of audio-visual material represents the first attempt to document the history of the African community in Greece twentieth and twenty-first century, as an integral part of the national narrative and Greek history. Beyond their role as protagonists, they are also artists and co-creators of the ongoing collective community project.
The presentation of the AfroGreeks at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève will be accompanied by live events: concerts, workshops, open discussions and guided tours. The presentation of the project at the Centre is curated by Grace Chimela Eze Nwoke, a Greek anthropologist and performer of Nigerian descent Nwoke has been a member of the Døcumatism team.
The exhibition includes an installation of a large number of videos and an archive/laboratory presenting all of the research on the African diasporas that the project has undertaken to date. In parallel, the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève presents the first major European retrospective dedicated to the founder of Døcumatism, the Greek artist and filmmaker Menelaos Karamaghiolis. The common title for both shows pays homage to James Baldwin and his manuscript “Remember This House,” which he left unfinished at the time of his death in 1987.
A group of filmmakers, artists, curators, historians, social workers, researchers, and educators, Døcumatism was founded by the artist and filmmaker Menelaos Karamaghiolis in 2009. Starting with the moving image and documentary, the collective has gone on to organize art actions and public dialogue on critical social issues with the aim of exploring invisible and inaccessible landscapes and launching possible solutions to crucial social issues. Their goal is to initiate dialogue and make the “invisible” visible.
Through art actions, films starring real-life heroes, and stories that break barriers and stereotypes, the Døcumatism team makes film art a functional tool for those living on the margins of society.
The collective’s collaborations foster the interaction of artists, protagonists, and viewers; these figures work together to design art actions that focus on one key social issue at a time. Each issue functions as an “apparatus” throughout a given action’s preparation, production, and distribution, mobilizing broader debates and making the recipient and eyewitness in situ.
About Grace Chimela Eze Nwoke
Døcumatism member Grace Chimela Eze Nwoke (b. 1994) is a Greek social scientist and performer of Nigerian descent. She completed her postgraduate studies in the department of social anthropology of Panteion University and is continuing her research about the African diasporas in Athens. She is in charge of Døcumatism’s research and community engagement and, together with Menelaos Karamaghiolis, has also organized live events and artistic supervision of the AfroGreeks. She has experience organizing live events, public discussions, educational and exchange programs, using creative artistic performances to delve deeper into matters regarding the inclusivity, visibility, and empowerment of African communities. She has organized events with municipalities as well as regions, governmental institutions, and organizations. Grace is a member of the theatrical group Vice Versa, co-founder of the team Bantu Dancers, and an active member of the African Cultural Community Vana Ba Africa and the Anasa Cultural Center in Athens.