The BHMF cultural association and The Recovery Plan are delighted to present the eighth edition of Black History Month Florence organized under the thematic framework of Sforzando.
This edition, spanning from February 1 to 28, brings together a range of ongoing collaborations with partners old and new. The choral nature of the initiative is amplified this year by continued work and engagement in Bologna, Turin, Milan and Rome, advancing autonomous and parallel programs that embrace collective forms of sharing during Black History Month. The theme of Sforzando, which adorns the Florentine chapter of the program, is an invitation and a critique. Drawing upon musical notation whereby sforzando is about playing a particular note with a sudden strong emphasis, February is the month of the year when the work carried out by the center for artistic research, The Recovery Plan, accentuates the initiatives of institutions, associations and schools, calling upon a diversified network to share reflections on people and cultures of African descent. This invitation to come together around an annual program is a powerful way to place a collective emphasis on the incredibly layered and broad histories connecting Italy to the African continent. Sforzando means to exert force and it is also about the consistent pushback that accompanies the challenging of canons and cultural values that emerge when Black history is addressed in Italy. It is a celebration of the will to resist, but also persist beyond conflict. With an emphasis on healing practices and Black futurity, this edition is one that engages in a Sankofian appreciation of the past as a way of looking into what lies ahead.
This edition is centered on an exhibition program at The Recovery Plan and SRISA Gallery of Contemporary Art featuring the work and research of Bartira, which engages the sonic archive and imagination. A second exhibition program at Murate Art District featuring the work of Bocar Niang, Binta Diaw, Nexcyia and Lerato Shadi is dedicated to reflecting upon all the elements that are elusive in regards to the Eurocentric framing of archives. A third exhibition program will be held at Villa Romana with the work of Jermay Michael Gabriel and Georges Senga reconfiguring the temporal and geographic spectrums of archival work.
This edition of Black History Month Florence features the second iteration of the festival E il clamore è divenuto voce. This concert series, initiated by The Recovery Plan in 2021, returns in collaboration with OOH Sounds and NUB as a sound and performance festival bringing together a range of artists drawing upon experimental music and electronic soundscapes. Spread across four venues (CANGO, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Villa Romana and The Recovery Plan), E il clamore è divenuto voce features artists muSa Michelle Mattiuzzi, Bartira, Nexcyia, Jermay Michael Gabriel, Still, Muna Mussie and Sadi.
The Black History Month Florence program is expanded through talks and presentations in collaboration with the Uffizi Galleries, New York University Florence, the European University Institute and the Biblioteca delle Oblate, amongst others. The program also features the fourth edition of the YGBI Research Residency supported by Numeroventi and Soul of Nations Foundation. This year, the residency brings together Mistura Allison, Elena Ndidi Akilo, Leyla Degan and Theophilus Imani with a mentorship by artist Sonia E. Barrett. The Recovery Plan, hosted since 2021 by Santa Reparata International School of Art, is a hub across the month of February and beyond for information and exchange in relation to the Black History Month Florence program with a library and archive-based research that provides insight into the range of subjects presented this month.