In Fall of 2020, BHMF was invited to join Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfaù, of Razzismo Brutta Storia, and Simone Frangi and Barbara Boninsegna, of the Centrale Fies in Dro (Trento), to begin thinking about the development of a new fellowship.
The fellowship was designed to ensure annual presence in the Live Works program, a performance art residence and free school of performance, which was geared towards racialized individuals from or connected to Italy. The Centrale Fies site has a rich history advanced through attentive curatorship that has sought to expand a range of experimental, transdisciplinary practices from diverse geographies all anchored within the world of the performing arts. Shortly after our gathering to set the collaboration in motion, Agitu Ideo Gudeta, a farmer, environmentalist and cheesemaker with an incredible story, a beacon in regards to socially responsible business models, was murdered in the region. With the family of Ideo Gudeta, it was decided that the fellowship would take on her name as a tribute to her activism.
The first Agitu Ideo Gudeta Fellowship was awarded to artist Silvia Rosi in April to support an experimental practice that reflects on the vernacular photo archives of Afrodescendent peoples in Italy as a form of shifting the personal into collective forms of memory and legacy. The proposal envisions a recalibration in value to safeguard and maintain personal and public archives, while attesting to the individual responsibilities that each of us has in regards to caring for and narrating the past. Rosi’s work speaks of the need to trouble the academic perception of archives, which has been overlooked more than it has been conserved.
June saw the initiation of the new cycle of Live Works Fellows at the Centrale Fies through the format of the Free School of Performance. This informal exchange between artists, curators and academics facilitated an initial critical discussion around performance art and social engagement that sets the tone for the year-long fellowship in support of each artist’s work and provides insight into the Italian context where the artists will be working. Daily evening performances are presented by past Live Works artists and invited guests and morning sessions are directed by Simone Frangi and facilitated by Justin Randolph Thompson, Onyeka Igwe, Kathryn Weir, Ibrahim Mahama, Mackda Ghebremariam Tesfaù and Krystel Khoury. The collective reflection on formative strategies and the importance of dialogue are always center stage.
Rosi will be in Florence for the first ten days of July for a BHMF-curated research residency as an explorative platform on which to begin her project.