Fugitive Slave Archives. From Paper to Memory

Workshop with Daniellis Hernández Calderón

Thursday, 11 April 2024 - 5pm

Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior registration via email by writing to externa.cec@museoreinasofia.es until 9 April

Nouvel Building, Floor 5, Study Centre, Classroom 2
25 people
Daniellis Hernández Calderón, Pieza inconclusa para Martha Ndumbe, película, 2023. Cortesía de la artista
Daniellis Hernández Calderón, Pieza inconclusa para Martha Ndumbe, película, 2023. Cortesía de la artista

How to rewrite and recount history when its fragments are not in archives? How to tell marginalised, invisible, and even non-imagined stories? These are among the questions that steer Daniellis Hernández Calderón’s search through the visual arts. 

In this workshop, organised inside the framework of the Black Iberian Studies Seminar from the Museo Reina Sofía’s Study Programme, Connective Tissue, the artist shares the creative process behind Unfinished Piece for Martha Ndumbe (2023), an audiovisual exercise which reconstructs the story of an Afro-German woman who was sent to a Nazi concentration camp, and creates a safe space where participants can engage in dialogue around their plural, border and diasporic identities, thereby allowing different questions to materialise: Where do they come from? What violence have they endured? What kind of resistance have they faced? In the second part, the workshop sets out a practical exercise of photographic development on canvas to gain an idea of the processes employed in realising the work.

Drawing from the writer Édouard Glissant’s concept of “creolization”, urging the reconfiguration of history not only from academic disciplines but also different forms of knowledge, Hernández Calderón explores in her work the possibilities of creating and reinventing the past from other non-hegemonic places, such as the story and oral tradition. To assemble her works she draws from sensitive material produced and cultivated in the co-existence, solidarity, struggles and resistances of migrating, diasporic and discriminated, but not defeated, bodies.   

Daniellis Hernández Calderón (Havana, 1977) is a Cuban artist, sociologist and activist who lives in Berlin. She has often stressed how she bears the name of the coloniser and the invisible yet disobedient memory of the colonised. She was born and bred into the complexities of a Caribbean island, a space shaken as much by hurricanes as Indigenous extermination, slavery, fugitive slaves, socialist revolutions, capitalism, escapes and resistance. A concern in her works are these memories, those that do not appear in books, that are buried in archives and trickle through museums.