That bird is wise,
Look. Its beak, back turned, picks
For the present, what is best from ancient eyes,
Then steps forward, on ahead
to meet the future, undeterred.
Kayper-Mensa: “Sankofa “(1976)
House|Ballroom culture the MC is not just a commentator but also an historian. Every category, be it Performance, Runway or Face, cites a walk that’s been done before. Someone making that entrance, first fearful, then fearless, getting their ten’s, and then finally, the battle. The MC recognizes those echoes from the past in their step and in their vogue: La Beija. St Laurent, Ninja. This community has persisted for over a hundred years, however, that history, that resilience, is often obscured by the colonial spectacle, seemingly lost in the many acts of exoticizing the black body.
The link is there, in the archives: Ballets Suédois and Ball Nègre.
Was it in 1925? When the American troup comes to Paris and starts rehearsing at the Theatre des Champs-Elysées 10 days before the premiere, Rolf de Maré, one the founders of the Ballets Suédois and André Daven, the artistic director of the theater, think the ball Revue Nègre is not “negro” enough for a Paris audience. It is too prude. More nudity is needed. Josephine Baker. Feather skirt. Banana skirt.
In Paris, during this time, also: Drag Balls. Drag Queens in Josephine Baker Costumes. The posters with images of “African” bodies make us cringe now. How do we reincarnate the past without bringing that painful history, perpetuating it?
The Adinkra Sankofa symbol, part of the cultural heritage of using pictorial images to convey the wisdom of Akan life, depicts a bird with its neck craned backwards, while its feet face forward carrying a precious egg in its mouth. As a practice, Sankofa has evolved among U.S. populations of African descent who have ancestors who experienced enslavement. Sankofa wisdom offers a solution to reconstituting the fragmented cultural past. It is not taboo to go back and retrieve what you have forgotten or lost.
Simultaneously, there is Afro-futurism: a creative and theoretical exploration of the African diaspora, fusing fantasy and history. An intersection of imagination, technology, and liberation.
While Afro-futurism reaches forward to reclaim the past, Sankofa reaches backwards, into the past, in order to reclaim the future. They meet in the present. These are our categories:
- Performance: Like an Egyptian Bennu bird rises from the ashes, bring the look of the Ghanain Bono Adinkra bird symbol Sankofa to life!
- Runway: As you time travel to the future you reclaim your rightful inheritance. Bring to life the royal look of Afro-futurism.
MC: Icon Jack Mizrahi Gucci
DJ: Kiddy Smile Gucci
Performers : Alaia Balenciaga, Ivy Balenciaga, Ninos Garçon, Wicked Garçon, Kendall Mugler, La B. Fujiko Ninja, Silva Prodigy, Keiona Revlon, Ritchy 007
Judges : Klara Balenciaga, Charly Ebony, Kennedy Garçon, Claude Gucci, Matyouz Laduree, Kendrick Roy Mugler, Lasseindra Ninja, Vinny Revlon, King James West
Admission free. No prior registration required.
From 7PM CET
On Zoom: Attend the event by clicking here.
Duration: ca 1 hour.
With support from the Swedish Arts Council.
The voguing ball PASSÉ-PRÉSENT-FUTUR is one of the three projects arising from the collaboration with the Swedish artist and filmmaker Sara Jordenö and the US activist artist Twiggy Pucci Garçon: an exhibition documenting the art project in public space, The Reincarnation of Rockland Palace (2012); several screenings of the documentary film KIKI made in 2016; and a new performance event in the form of a French-Swedish-American Ball. It is completed by runway and voguing workshops and a talk with both artists the days before the ball.