UNC Asheville will host an event series including an exhibition, film screenings and a lecture on the experience of Afro-Germans, The Spaces Between Us: Black Lives in Germany, from Sept. 21 – Oct. 12. The series will feature the work of Afro-German filmmaker Branwen Okpako, who will also present a lecture on campus. All events in this series are free and open to the public.
An exhibition of self-portraits and biographies of black Germans will open at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21 in the lobby of UNC Asheville’s Karpen Hall. The collection includes both historic and contemporary photos, and give voice to the complex and varied histories of Afro-Germans and their experiences of being black in Germany. The exhibit will remain on display through Oct. 6.
Nigerian-born filmmaker Branwen Okpako’s 2003 film, Valley of the Innocent, will be screened at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in the Grotto of UNC Asheville’s Highsmith Union. The film follows a woman’s journey to find her parents, which leads her to the dark secrets of Germany’s suppressed history.
Okpako will visit UNC Asheville to present a lecture, Representing Ourselves: Afro-German Identities in the Films of Branwen Okpako, at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3 in Karpen Hall, Laurel Forum. Okpako’s talk will explore the relationship between image, culture and race from a working artist’s point of view.
Dirt for Dinner, an award-winning documentary by director Okpako, will be screened at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12 in the Grotto of UNC Asheville’s Highsmith Union. The film tells the story of Sam Njankouo Meffire, the son of a Cameroon father and East German mother who grew up to become a cop, a model citizen and, finally, a convicted criminal. The film won the Bavarian documentary film prize, the German Next-Generation-First-Steps Award for Best Documentary Film and First Prize at the Dubrovnik Documentary Film Festival in 2001.