An Afropean Evening with Johny Pitts

photo: Johny Pitts

Programme maker/moderator
Rokhaya Seck
In collaboration with
In collaboration with
Uitgeverij De Geus
What does it mean to be black in today’s Europe? That’s what British writer, photographer and tv-presenter Johny Pitts tried to find out traveling the continent. He captured his findings in an impressive travelogue Afropean: Notes from Black Europe.

Together with Johny Pitts we will immerse ourselves in “Black Europe” with sounds, words, images and music from artists, musicians and writers Tarona, Lisette Ma Neza, Pape Seck, Vamba Sherif, Neil Akenzua, Judith Quax, Absa Sisokko and Giovanni Pisas.

Dutch musician and slam poet Lisette Ma Neza used Afropean as travel guide and followed Johny’s footsteps resulting in the performance L’Europe noire: Some Girls want to go to Europe. She will perform with pianist Neil Akenzua, dancer Giovanni Pisas and pecussionist Pape Seck in a decor made by artist Absa Sissoko.

Together with her four year old Dutch-Senegalese son Noah Saliou, visual artist Judith Quax made a road trip from Amsterdam to Dakar. This resulted in the book and artproject TOUKI Voyage à Dakar including an essay from writer Vamba Sherif inspired by the experience of the bicultural child. Vamba Sherif wil recite this piece amid Judith’s and Noah’s visual travelogue.

Artist and director Tarona explores the ways in which the diaspora is represented and cultivates an alternative. Her work is a continuous exploration and examination of both the visual representation and misrepresentations of Black and Afro Diasporic peoples through film and photography. Together with Johny Pitts, she will dive into the world of visual language.

Johny Pitts (United Kingdom, 1987) is an author, presenter, poet, photographer, and musician, performing music with the Bare Knuckle Soul Collective. He wrote the book ‘Afropean: Notes from Black Europe’, part of the larger Afropean project which attempts to explore the interaction between black and European cultures in diverse ways including photography, performance and film.

Vamba Sherif (Liberia, 1973) is a writer and journalist and has lived in the Netherlands since 1993. He wrote several novels, and the autobiographical Ongekende Liefde . He was co-composer of the collection of stories Zwart, Afro-Europese literature from Belgium and the Netherlands.

Tarona (Curaçao, 1985) is a lifelong learner – doubling as an artist and director – based in Rotterdam. Her work is a continuous exploration and examination of both the visual representation and misrepresentations of Black and Afro Diasporic peoples through film and photography. It is also an exploration of the self; what it means to be of mixed racial descent, spanning continents and the implications for current and future generations’ collective identity. 

Lisette Ma Neza (The Netherlands, 1998) is known for her sharp pen, soft voice and poetic performances. In her writing, making music and film she searches for her own language, in order to translate feeling into words, images and melodies. In this way she searches for the untold story of man.

Pape Amadou Seck (Senegal, 1964) is born into a family of griots (West-African troubadours). He plays various percussion instruments, including sowruba, sabar, bougarabou, tama, djembé and tabala. In Senegal he gained fame as percussionist in the band Thione Seck et le Raam Daan.

Judith Quax (The Netherlands, 1973) is a photographer and visual artist. The starting point in her work is how people move in their nomadic and transnational life and relate to their changing surroundings. Quax’s work has been extensively exhibited both nationally and internationally.

De aanleiding van dit programma is de vertaling van Afropean die dit voorjaar verschijnt bij Uitgeverij De Geus. Het boek is vertaald door Robert Dorsman

Johny Pittswriter, journalist, photographer
Taronaartist, director, photographer
Lisette Ma Nezaartist, slam-poet, musician
Pape SeckPercussionist
Giovanni PisasDancer
Judith QuaxVisual Artist
Vamba SherifWriter and journalist
Neil Akenzuapianist