Oyoun’s new curatorial focus Listening to the Land brings forward the narratives and stories of resistance, providing a mutual learning platform by culminating
submerged perspectives and seeking transnational connections in movements from artists, practitioners, activists, and scholars.
It emphasizes creative, alternative methodologies, and forms of revolutionary rebuke against environmental degradation under ongoing colonial endeavors and will center queer, feminist, post-colonial, and indigenous artistic interventions.
This project summons us to confront the most urgent task of our time in bringing indigenous knowledge, science, art, and technology to the forefront to regenerate the way toward a functional economic system that supports people without threatening the life of the earth:
How can we imagine regenerative futures
which center BIPOC narratives
and alternative methodologies?
How can decolonial perspectives and
regenerative strategies be transported
through artistic interventions and
have a lasting impact on social discourse?
How are intergenerational knowledge
of the land, water and resources
shared and used by local communities?
How community-based restoration strategies
have taken place through resilient efforts?
What are the different innovative
regenerative solutions of local communities
through engaging, learning and doing?
Amidst the currents that flow through the fluid arteries of Berlin, arises Sea Behind the Wall, a participatory series that beckons all to embark on a collective journey. With an aim to untangle the complexities of neo-colonialism, it weaves an intersectional tapestry of solidarity, intermingling the intergenerational, indigenous, and contemporary modes of practice.
Mai El-Gammal + Savannah Garcia
Outdoor Film Screenings
22.09.23 | Screenings: 19:00-21:00 at Oyoun’s Garden | Q&A / Talk: 21:00-22:00 at Oyoun’s Café | Tickets: Free admission | Registration: www.oyoun.de |
Film and agriculture, seemingly disparate realms, possess a fascinating dialectic that allows them to mutually inform and enrich one another. The first screening by curator Mai El-Gammal delves into the intricate dynamics of crop exchange between the global North and South. Two thought-provoking documentaries explore the multifaceted implications of aid programs and the fascinating journey of seeds across continents.
Film 1: “The Price of Aid” by Jihan El-tahri (2003, 52 minutes)
In "The Price of Aid," we delve into the complex world of humanitarian aid and its far-reaching consequences. Through a detailed case study of a famine crisis in Zambia, this documentary sheds light on the paradoxes of international assistance. While the United States donates millions of tons of food to alleviate
immediate hunger, this film unveils the potential long-term challenges it can create for the nations receiving aid.
Film 2: Wild Relatives by Jumana Mannaa (2018, 64 minutes)
A captivating journey from the Arctic permafrost to the fertile lands of Lebanon in "Wild Relatives." This documentary chronicles the remarkable story of seeds, encapsulating both the global and local dimensions of seed preservation. Learn about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an underground sanctuary safeguardingseeds from around the world. Follow the extraordinary journey of seeds as they traverse from the Arctic to the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, witnessing the challenges and triumphs along the way.
07.10.23 | Screenings: 19:30-21:30 h at Oyoun’s Garden | Q&A / Talk: 21:30-22:30h at Oyoun’s Café | Tickets: Free admission | Registration: www.oyoun.de |
Lupa in tagalog means “soil”, “humus”; “earth” (world); and “country”; “nation”. In the Philippines, the word lupa also resonates with the complex issues of private property and the ongoing oppression faced by sugarcane workers. Hacienda, an exploitative land system inherited from Spanish colonization, still prevails today. In response, filmmakers and artists are shedding light on the multifaceted aspects of post-colonialism, exploring its impact on the landscape and the bodies of laborers toiling in the fields.
This screening by curator Savannah Garcia offers diverse perspectives on this subject, all with the shared goal of revealing the social, political, and environmental realities through the narratives of laborers, farmers, social workers, and scholars.
Following the screening, Enzo Camacho, the artist behind "羽化 (wings becoming)", and representative of ALPAS Pilipinas, will join and engage in a discussion with scholars who possess invaluable knowledge of land and soil issues.
Video installation: “How Many Seas Will You Swim?” by Lizza May David & Gabriel Rossel-Santillán: Video installation in loop, Oyoun’s Café
Inspired by chants and myths from Mexico and the Philippines this installation displays our dialogue on the ocean as a spatial dimension and relational point of view. The installation follows traces of a Bauhinia orchid tree, referring to trade relations during the New Spain, interweaving images of today with poetry and research to unravel multilayered concepts of time.
Film 1: “Pagkatapos ng Tigkiriwi (After the Dead Season)” by Danielle Madrid (23:05 minutes)
“Pagkatapos ng Tigkiriwi” is a documentary that tells a story of three areas in Negros Occidental and their struggle for land and food security.
Film 2: “羽化* (wings becoming)” by Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho (06:20 minutes)
A cosmological system is presented here through 16mm silent film, five handmade paper drawings, a light installation made of onion skins, and “tangle works” (nests, kindling, intertwinings demonic in their thick opacity). The film loops on a ritual of fire ensues, as a small barrel lined with joss paper is lit seemingly with the touch of flesh. One by one, butterflies are fed to flame, becoming fire-bodied, then flaking into their presumed disappearance.
Film 3: “Tu crois que la terre est chose morte (You Think the Earth is a Dead Thing)” by Florence Lazar (70 minutes)
The film looks at the “global ecological crisis” from the perspective of the island of Martinique. In reflecting on ecology, the film not only raises issues concerning nature and damaged ecosystems, but, moreover, focuses on spaces of resistance to the crisis in which women and men acknowledge and act from the historical perspective of colonialism, where ecological struggle and the colonial past are intrinsically linked. Taken from Césaire's play Une tempête, a postcolonial adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, the title not only evokes the ecological ravages of colonialism, but also the emancipatory potential of history.
22.10.23 | Screenings: 19:00-21:00 at Oyoun’s Garden | Q&A / Talk: 21:00-22:00 at Oyoun’s Café (TBC) | Tickets: Free admission | Registration: www.oyoun.de |
Following the first screening on 22.09, curator Mai El-Gammal continues to explore the dialectic between film and agriculture, unveiling an uncharted terrain where artistry meets sustenance, forging a deeper understanding of both practices and fostering a shared appreciation for the intrinsic value of storytelling
and the natural world.
Film 1: “A Flood in Baath Country”, directed by Omar Amiralay (2002, 52 minutes)
The documentary explores the implications of Baath Party policies in Syria. Without commentary or criticism, Amiralay's film exposes Baath party propaganda and its debilitating effects on the people of al-Mashi village, 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Damascus. The film moves slowly from students to teachers to government officials, with everyone reciting exactly the same praise for the president and slogans glorifying the Baath party. The film is a harsh indictment of the regime, portraying the devastating effects of 35 years of rigid Baath party rule on Syrian society.
Film 2: Screening and Panel Discussion (TBC)
Outdoor Video Exhibition
29.09.23- 26.10.23 | Oyoun Berlin (Lucy-Lameck-Str. 32), Bubbletea World (Kottbusser Damm 29-30), Drinks & Bottles (Maybachufer 1), Grimm-Zentrum (Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 3), SPÄTKAUF (Reinickendorfer Str. 18A) | Tickets:
Free admission | Language: English
Arijit Bhattacharyya’s curatorial project, “Species, Soil and Successors”, will present seven audiovisual works by Studio 33/3 (Soumik Ghosh, Shibayan Halder,
Suvojit Roy), Devadeep Gupta, Binita Limbani, Swagata Bhattacharyya, Mahi Ghane, on the glass fronts in various public spaces of Berlin.
The exhibited audiovisual works explore various socioeconomic, historical and cultural contexts ranging from urbanization's consequences in Kolkata to water scarcity in its slums, delving into the endangerment of the Greater Adjutant bird, the complex relationship between the Brahmaputra River and Assam's communities, the historical significance of the Tapti River in Surat, and finally, the degradation of the River Ganga in Kolkata due to unregulated urbanization.
Each audiovisual work serves as a portal, offering glimpses into the hidden facets of life - events that unfold right around us, yet often go unnoticed. Each piece is a distant island, scattered yet interconnected within the vast ocean of diverse lived experiences, together shaping a rich tapestry of existence.
“Species, Soil and Successors” weaves Berlin's different neighborhoods: Neukölln, Kreuzberg, Mitte, and Wedding, each with its own contrasting living conditions, historical contexts and urban infrastructure. The outdoor exhibition acts as an imaginative bridge between moments and events that may seem unrelated to each other but share a unique connection, transcending geographical boundaries and seeming distances.
Shibayan Halder, “Moving Forest”
Suvojit Roy, “Waterpark”
Soumik Ghosh, “Vote for Hargila”
Mahi G, "Vikasach Khul"
Devadeep Gupta, “Absent River”
Binita Limbani, “River and the City”
Swagata Bhattacharya, “The Catastrophe is Museumised”
Mai El-Gammal is a cultural worker and a professional in the film industry. Her experience spans film promotion and distribution, film training programs management, and film programming with 10 years of experience in the Middle East and Germany. She holds an MA in Cultural Studies and New Media. She worked for DOX BOX e.V. for where she managed programs including the Residency and the Consultancy. Currently, El-Gammal serves as the Coordinator for Partnerships at DOK Leipzig.
Savannah Garcia is a French-Filipino researcher currently based in Berlin, with a background in art and social sciences (EHESS, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales). Specializing in art and realism, and in documentary cinema in particular, she has collaborated with the Cinéma du Réel (Centre Pompidou) and the Festival International Jean Rouch (Musée du Quai Branly) in Paris. She persues her research in Berlin, on the relation between home (foyer) and nation in global history. She is also an active member of ALPAS Pilipinas and the co-creator of Banana Ketchup, a zine dedicated in unpacking and deconstructing colonial narratives.
Born in West Bengal, Arijit Bhattacharyya is an artist and independent curator currently based in Weimar. His practice revolves around contentious narratives of resistance through social engagements, design interventions and lecture performances. Through his artworks he deals with questions about the individual, power and history and how these manifest in social contexts. He is deeply invested in the conversations of postcolonial resistance, anticoloniality, social marginalization and community disobedience. His practice stirs up prevalent structures that determine the way we live, drawing resistance against different kinds of injustice and oppression.
His artistic discourse is deeply rooted in the dissecting trajectories of socio-political history and its implications in cultural practices. His practice can be perceived as a stance of speaking up to power. As a curator he is invested in artistic practices that investigate methods of social agitation and political imagination. Arijit triggers us to see what we want to close our eyes to, while inspiring us to re-imagine structures that define who we are.
Cover: Credits Ezequiel Hyon.
fig. 1: A Closer Look at Crop Exchange | Curated by Mai El-Gammal.
fig. 2: LUPA/TERRE: The Fight for Land and Justice | Curated by Savannah Garcia.
fig. 3: Irrigation and Degradation | Curated by Mai El-Gammal.
fig. 4: Species, Soil and Successors | Curated by Arijit Bhattacharyya | With works by Studio 33/3 (Soumik Ghosh, Shibayan Halder, Suvojit Roy), Devadeep Gupta, Binita Limbani, Swagata Bhattacharyya and Mahi Ghane.