Artist Karina Griffith will be showing a series of moving image works and artifacts at our upcoming conference Returning the Gaze II: Stories of Resistance at the University of Innsbruck in Austria next month. The exhibition will be free to access for University of Innsbruck students and conference delegates.
Becoming Afro German is an series of works and artifacts that signify the tension between Blackness and Europeaness created through Germany’s denial of its colonial past. The artist explains:
“I can never become Afro German, because that identity is kinetic, moving, fleeting. The Black German identity is elusive in its evolution. It flows like water; it is not inert like land (Deutschland). The only way to make land move is create borders, nations and visa requirement – the tools of colonialism that shift land away from people.
“I don’t know if my decade in Germany got me any closer to the feeling of “home”, but that time, those conversations sitting at the foot of other Black women, of learning a language that allowed me to say things I never could, of receiving confusing, fearful, angry and sometimes compassionate glances from my fellow humans …they must count for something.”
Griffith describes the works as an ‘archive’ of her experiences, and of the effects that rebound between the bodies and places she has encountered.
Karina Griffith is a scholar and filmmaker originally from Canada. She received a distinction for her Master of Fine Arts at the University of London, Goldsmiths College in 2007 and has most recently worked as a moderator at Ballhaus Naunynstrasse for their We Are Tomorrow Festival.
Griffith presented her short film Die Umzuege at ERIF’s first conference Returning the Gaze: Blackface in Europe in 2014, and went on to participate in the The Company We Keep exhibition at the Galerie Alpha Futura in 2015. Currently, Karina is completing her PhD at the University of Toronto.