I AM MILLI (the exhibition will be postponed to 2022)

Because of the current Regulations to contain SARS-Cov-2 Unfortunately, the preparations for the exhibition had to be interrupted. Travel restrictions and imponderables regarding the opening of the art space have prompted us to postpone the exhibition to a later date.

curated by Natasha A. Kelly 

With  Sonia E. Barrett, Nathalie Mba Bikoroy, Zari Harat, Nadu Hormann, Ingrid Mwangi Hutter, Monilola Olayımı Ilupeju, Belinda Kazeem-Kaminski, Magda Korsinsk, Maseho, Patricia Vester

From May 15 to July 17, the Society for Contemporary Art is showing the exhibition in the art space hase29 I AM MILLI curated by scientist, writer and filmmaker Natasha A. Kelly. The focus is on Kelly's award-winning documentary “Millis Awakening”, which was commissioned by the Berlin Biennale in 2018. In eight successive short films, black women, who have their center of life in Germany, report on their challenges in and with German art institutions, on visual representation and political and social exclusion.

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Her biographical narratives show to what extent preoccupation with art (in all its manifestations) can serve as a “remedy” to alleviate lived emotional isolation, social oppression, racism and sexism. The title of the film goes back to the 1911 painting "Sleeping Milli" by the expressionist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. It shows the naked body of a black woman lying on a sofa. Her eyes are closed, but the title only suggests that she is sleeping. Her body is contoured with a strong line, the colors are applied unmixed. On the right, Kirchner painted a figure in a bright pink that contrasts with the dark skin color "Millis" and resembles an African sculpture that appears to be held in a dancing movement.

everything is easy
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In 1911 he painted the "Sleeping Milli" lying naked on a couch. As a source of inspiration, he only accepted his own potency. While numerous art historians focus on von Kirchner's sexual fantasies as well as aesthetics, the film plunges into the thoughts and emotions of its "muse" and lets Milli symbolically awaken. In interviews with film maker Natasha A. Kelly, black artists from different generations have their say, who have overcome the common colonial-traditional stereotypes in and through their artistic work and their own self-determined identity as black women * within the white German majority society. They report on their challenges in and with German art institutions, on visual representation and political and social exclusion. Where can you build on your experiences? Which strategies can be brought together? Which ones need to be rethought? Art thus not only forms the architecture of the film, but is also presented as a cornerstone for the social and political activism of those involved in the project. In the bilingual publication of the same name, the interviews are printed in their full length. The aim is to show the importance of artistic creation from a black feminist perspective.

Dr. phil. Natasha A. Kelly is a freelance writer, curator and scientist. In her work she combines theory and practice and thus manages to create transfer services between science, society and politics. In addition, she has been involved in the black German community for many years. In addition to her advisory work for various art institutions she is the artistic director of the theater series "M (a) y Sister", which has been performed at the HAU Hebbel am Ufer Theater in Berlin since 2015. Her debut film »Millis Erwachen« (2018) ran from June to September 2018 at the 10th Berlin Biennale and can be seen from October 2018 to March 2019 at the MMK Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt. With the publication of the same name and her debut as a filmmaker at the same time, contrary to the usual formats of the dominant society, she presents collective experiences and feelings of black artists in their diversity and interweaving, so that the continuity of black feminism in Germany becomes visible.