Tickets: Free
Online: Zoom
Fri 21 Jan 2022 @ 19.00

Constellation of Blackness

Fri 21 Jan 2022 @ 19.00
Online: Zoom

This panel conversation with Black feminist artists is led by Papaya, an artist and activist-led AfroFeminist collective. Panelists include artist Navild Acosta,​ ​writer and researcher Lola Olufemi,​ lecturer, researcher, and writer Francesca Sobande​,​​ ​and filmmaker Lolo Arziki. Part of the International Changemakers Programme.

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Papaya is an artist and activist-led AfroFeminist collective investigating Black liberation, and ways to create loving environments in a decolonising world. In 2021 with the support of the UK City of Culture Trust and the British Council through the International Changemakers Programme, the collective commissioned 10 films by Black feminist artists and organised a panel conversation with Coventry Biennial.

​We are delighted to host a moment with ​artist Navild Acosta,​ ​writer and researcher Lola Olufemi,​ lecturer, researcher, and writer Francesca Sobande​,​​ ​and ​ filmmaker Lolo Arziki​.​

Join Constellation of Blackness online at 7pm on the 21st of January 2022! The event will be closed captioned and BSL interpreted.

Pushing towards wordlessness,context-specific technology-based collective mechanisms, and plural creative modes of assembling - 

we are inviting textures, vulnerability, and solidarity into an on-going stream of thoughts paying respect to Black feminist lineages. 


Panelists will share ​visions on what unregulated Black intimacy and constellation of Blackness (could) mean​ ​to ​them along with their insights on the (im)possibility to grow​​ and nurtur​e​ technology-based linkages with afrofeminists/ Black feminists living ​across contexts​.​


The Panelists

Navild Acosta

Making art saved my life.

Everything I produce is centered around my experiences as a Trans-gender-non-conforming queer Black young and poor person born into a single migrant parent home raised in several ghetto’s of NYC. I have found the questions and challenges I face to be, in essence, universal and therefore largely accessible to plethora audiences. Questions around social constructs such as gender and race are a part of the human experience and affect all people. From my audiences,
I seek to evoke empathy and compassion for the life on this planet

I hope my work will make visible the experiences of a historically subversive and deliberately oppressed community of queer, transgender, and/or people-of-color creators. I seek to set a precedent for people who align themselves with these identities to feel they can inhabit spaces where they are often marginalized. I believe in our ability to gather and that our bodies are sites for deep transformation. Possibilities for transcending our colonial inheritance and making room for the future within ourselves. My version of futurism includes laying foundations for healing societal conceits, being critical of oppressive propaganda and embracing evolved paradigms of inclusivity.

In the presentation of a work, I work to highlight both the rigor and softness to exist as the people we are. I strive to invite an experience that will generate mindfulness for those who witness, no matter their walk of life.

Researching intersections of race and performance is a unifying thread throughout my body of work. Projects I have directed strive to create a platform accessible to audiences of diverse paths of life while maintaining central focus on Black Pleasure. I like to use the term ‘Impossible Bodies’ which describes the lived experiences of myself and fellow collborators. My use of the term ‘Impossible’ is to highlight contradiction and in turn embrace abjection. Blackness remains subaltern, sub-human and dangerous within a settler colonial white supremacist hegemony. There’s nothing more Impossible than that.

Lola Olufemi is a black feminist writer and researcher from London.
She is co-author of 'A FLY Girl's Guide to University' (Verve Poetry Press, 2019), author of 'Feminism Interrupted: Disrupting Power' (Pluto Press, 2019) and 'Experiments in Imagining Otherwise', forthcoming from Hajar Press in 2021. She is a member of 'bare minimum', an interdisciplinary anti-work arts collective and the recipient of the 2020 techne AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership between The Stuart Hall Foundation, CREAM and Westminster School of Arts. Her work focuses on the uses of the feminist imagination, its relationship to futurity, political demands and imaginative-revolutionary potential. Her latest short story, "Red" was shortlisted for the 2020 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing prize. She tweets at @lolaolufemi_ and is represented by Emma Paterson at Aitken Alexander Associates. Alongside writing, she facilitates reading groups/workshops, occasionally curates and is volunteer co-ordinator at the Feminist Library in South London.

Dr. Francesca Sobande is a lecturer, researcher, and writer who explores the power and politics of media and the marketplace, including issues concerning identity, intersecting inequalities, and imagination. Her research particularly focuses on digital remix culture, Black diaspora and archives, feminism, creative work, pop culture, and devolved nations.

Current writing projects:
Black oot here: black lives in Scotland (zed/bloomsbury)
The revolution will not be digital branding [title tbc] (university of california press)

Lolo Arziki was born in Cape Verde and moved to Portugal at the age of 13; now living between Portugal and Luxembourg.
Lolo attended the African Studies degree for a year where a teacher gave Lolo the book History of Black Africa by Joseph Ki-Zerbo. Reading this book Lolo became interested in the History of Art in Africa, questioning the Eurocentric perspective and deciding to opt for activism through art. Lolo graduated in Cinema from the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar and completed a Master's degree in Aesthetics and Artistic Studies at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. As a black feminist, Lolo develops work exploring themes suchas sexuality, blackness, gender and aesthetic experimentation. Lolo addresses these themes in films, also advocating for the legal prohibition of homophobia in Cape Verde, where homosexuality only ceased to be a crime in 2004. In 2016, Lolo began performing with the video performance Relatos de Uma Mulher Nada Púdica, portraying the intimate and personal experience of a woman and Lolo’s sexual affirmation within the Cape Verdean cultural context as an LGBTI rights activist.


Access information

  • Captioned
  • BSL interpreted