19.09.2018, 6 pm

Performance & Installation

Isaiah Lopaz - A History of Remembering in cooperation with the Reeperbahnfestival

Isaiah Lopaz, Untitled, 2018

Location of the performance & installation: The Reeperbahn Festival Villgage on Heiligengeistfeld

Space is limited, please register for the performance by 9/17/2018 at:

The Kunstverein in Hamburg presents the American artist Isaiah Lopaz (*1979 in Los Angeles, lives and works in Berlin) in cooperation with this year’s Reeperbahnfestival. Lopaz uses photography, performance art, collages and text works to process personal confrontations with everyday racism and to reflect on the white majority society in which he lives. For instance, he designed the photo project Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Him in reaction to the variety of racist expressions that he as person of color needs to face day-by-day. He printed sentences such as “Where do you really come from?“, “Where can we get some drugs?“ or “I never had sex with a black guy before“ on white T-Shirts which he wore on photographs taken at different locations in and around Berlin.

The Kunstverein in Hamburg presents two works of the artist on this year’s Reeperbahnfestival: The installation Say What You Mean/Mean What You Say is based on text material from Lopaz’s above mentioned photo project. Racist statements, fears and questions are juxtaposed on a large LED-Screen in order to point out the complex and difficult structures of xenophobia.

The second work, the performance A History of Remembering, takes cues from various African oral traditions, practices, which continue to exist and flourish. The histories, myths, proverbs, and wisdoms of various people of Black African descent have not been completely extinguished by centuries of colonialism, abduction and enslavement, or through the enforcement of arbitrary borders and the introduction of imposed foreign languages. From generation to generation these narratives continue to be told around campfires, in houses of worship, in community centers, and in close proximity of elders, leaders, healers, and those who have been tasked with remembering. The participants of the performance A History of Remembering are invited to seat themselves around a rectangular table at whose head are seated three performers who share their personal stories, myths, proverbs and wisdom. Another element of the performance is the joint dinner. Each chef chooses to connect the dish that they have prepared to historical episodes.

The urgency of A History of Remembering is to command, to share, and to archive the histories of people of Black African descent. Histories which have been deemed unimportant. Histories which have been written faultily, edited and erased from the perspectives of the coloniser. Thereby, these stories, hidden and stolen, receive now attention.


Isaiah Lopaz

Clemintine Ewokolo Burnely

Monica Kamara

Rebecca Meraki

Curated by Dilara Kubitzki