International Changemakers: Unregulated Black Intimacy

Unregulated Black intimacy is a film-based conversation created by Black/afro-feminist artists across borders. In 2021 the artist collective Papaya invited ten artists from different contexts to use films as a common language. Over ten months with the support of the UK City of Culture Trust and the British Council through the International Changemakers Programme, Papaya commissioned and gathered ten films by Black feminist artists and shared Papaya’s creative processes investigating the theme Unregulated Black Intimacy.

This programme is curated by International Changemaker melissandre varin and takes inspiration from Saidya Hartman, Adrienne Maree Brown, and Amahara Spence.

We celebrate the labour and existence of these invited artists whose generous contributions are part of papaya’s artistic research supported by Coventry Biennial, the UK City of Culture Trust.

Join us for Constellation of Blackness, a panel discussion on 21 January, 7pm 

Not anymore by Alexane Ozier Lafontaine

Not anymore is a short movie about women’s attraction toward men. It questions the way society wants heterosexual  women to behave sexually.

About Alexane Ozier Lafontaine

Alexane is a 21 year old activist  (she) from Iouanaceara, a Caribbean island colonized by France. She’s passionate about African and Caribbean history. She’s also passionate about women. She’s known in her country because she took a stand against racist western school systems, by sacrificing a test of her end-of-study exams which was based on the work of a French colonizer.

She’s also a part of a black power movement in her island which aim to decolonize and re humanize places, people, and the collective consciousness.


This Quest of Euphoria by Bebe Melkor

As I lay my feet on the path of existence, I learn that healing is not linear.
I wished so many times for numbness to strike my skull and leave me empty.
This of mine has been granted. Not like a hit on the head, more like gentle caresses on my cheeks, soft kisses on my eyelids.
A finger flicking away a tear rolling down my chin.
Each of these gestures meant to comfort me were also taking away my ability to feel anything.
I remember the time when I could feel everything so deeply.
The time before the over protective inner hands of mine took this gift from me.
Now that life cannot reach me anymore, I have to go on this quest.
One step after the other.
Realising now that I was running away from the very experience of life.
I am tending to the wounds, healing the sufferings that made me make this poor choice.
I don't run anymore.
This quest of euphoria is about getting my tears back.

Capture D'écran by melissandre Varin

Capture D'écran is a film made with  personal footage filmed in 2013 from YunNan, a Chinese province I fell in love with when visiting from ShangHai. Living in China for a year transformed my understanding of cultural formation. When I got pregnant for the first time, I named the foetus after YunNan, tattooed their name on my body following a stillbirth. Across 2020-2021 ‘random’ conversations with Ryan Christopher informed and shaped my ways of making. Ryan encouraged me to write in French, which transformed the text of Papaya quite a lot. There is a floating beauty in this poetic film that deviates from my usual film practice in which I predominantly rely on self-exposure. In this film I speak nearby (Trinh T Minh-ha) us to speak about us/me. Yet another interpretation of what unregulated Black intimacy might be/feel like.

Sanctuary by Navild Acosta

Mirroring the UK City of Culture theme: sanctuary Navild Acosta made a film sharing dreamy vibes of the quotidian, an invitation towards rest and tenderness. Navild is an artist based in Berlin at the time of our exchanges. Navild will also be part of Constellation of Blackness, a panel conversation in January 2022 part of Coventry Biennial supported by Coventry City of Culture and curated by Melissandre Varin.

For now - love, tenderness, and rest

Me and You be Loving Ourselves by Iainaire Aderemi

Relatos de uma rapariga nada púdica by Lolo Arziki