Andrew Ananda Voogel in Khirkee Voice / Christopher Udemezue / Dhrubo Jyoti / Elyla / Jesús Hilario-Reyes / Prabhakar Pachpute / Rajyashri Goody / Subas Tamang

Curated by Shaunak Mahbubani with curatorial advice from Vidisha-Fadescha, Eli Moon and Madhumita Nandi

Vernissage: August 03, 2022, 19:00 p.m. – 22:00 p.m
Exhibition: 04 – 30 August, Tuesday – Saturday, 12:00 – 19:00

"We cannot give up writing stories about what it means to be human that displace those that are at the foundation of Empire." — Sylvia Wynter

In her evocation “Being Human as Praxis” (2007), Wynter explores the importance of the origin story and places the act of self-narrative at the heart of the process of establishing oneself as a full and complex human being outside of the Enlightenment definition of human—one step , which she refers to as “Autopoetic Turn/Overturn”. In line with Wynter's vision, AUTOPOIESIS explores the nuances of autobiographical art practices that have their roots in the contrasting locations of South Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. The project, which will be shown between August and December 2022 in Berlin, Kassel, Mexico City, Guatemala City, New Delhi and other locations in expanded exhibition form, aims to go beyond abstract notions of solidarity and to experiment with self-narratives to propose to develop deeper kinships through the recognition of specific embodied positions.


With contributions by Jumoke Adeyanju, Amira Zarari, Abdalsalam Al Haj, Ozan Zakariya Keskinkılıç, Abdulrahman Kambal, Akinbode Akinbiyi and others | Digital Platform | Release in autumn 2022 | Opening events at May-Ayim Shore and Oyoun | date follows

rongin shagor রঙিন সাগর translated from Bengali means something like "multicolored ocean" - the ocean as a carrier of memories: How our bodies are carriers of memories, which puts us in direct relation to bodies of water.

"Will you remember to keep us afloat?" - again asks a question to the ocean, which gives and takes, and creates a parallel to how and who shapes memory in our world. Who stays afloat and is reminded that he/she stays afloat? Who will be swallowed up by the tides and forgotten?

Based on a poem by Afro-German poet May Ayim, Oyoun's new artistic intervention “rongin shagor” reflects on cultures of remembrance by exploring the reflective and generative threads of cultural formations that lie within the senses of the oppressed body. Tracing and reweaving these threads is the ceaseless task of cultures exposed to colonialism. Collective memory emerges from language, and patterns of collective memory influence language as socially and culturally shared narrative genres. The project attempts to create a constellation of memory by weaving together cultural responses and transnational dialogue. This multimodal space creates a break between voice and silence, the oral and the visual, and is an attempt to ensure the survival of sensory cultures in today's world.

In the form of a virtual artistic chain letter, “rongin shagor” explores the concept of lore by engaging others in the discourse of how our history shapes our actions today. A series of multidisciplinary and multilingual artists will respond to the poem "Community" by May Ayim, a thought leader and key figure in the Afro-German movement that shaped it until her untimely death in 1996.

"rongin shagor - the multicolored ocean" - symbolizes the variety of poetic and artistic interpretations and inspirations that emerge from a poem. They drift, embark, collide, and stay afloat—all in the same place, each marking the beginnings of different struggles in identity politics. Dreams, visions and associative imagination of poetry are reinforced by a collective growth of individual, sequential works of art - beginning with the aforementioned poem by May Ayim. The reactions of interdisciplinary artists to this work will shape “rongin shagor” and pave the way for further participation.

The erasure caused by the colonial era - with the parallel narrative of the pandemic - challenges us to confront the realities of loss, loss of connection, loss of oral tradition, loss of ritual, loss of loved ones, loss of the physical touch, loss of justice. Amid all this loss, there is a need to create a common space in which to make visible and audible the challenges faced by the various diaspora communities in Berlin and beyond. This participatory online project will seek to create a hub of knowledge through art and make it accessible to a wider community to engage in the discourses over time.

A primarily digital project with manifestations in physical space, “rongin shagor” addresses the interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized by exploring issues of identity, language, representation, displacement, migration, resistance and agency. The artistic responses will be shared both online and offline, culminating in a digital platform that is scheduled to launch later this year and will be accompanied by a physical opening at May-Ayim Ufer and Oyoun in Berlin.

The exhibition “May Ayim: Poet. 1996.” by Akinbode Akinbiyi included the first in a series of artistic responses to May Ayim's poem “Community”. Over the next few months, several artists, some of whom knew the poet herself, will provide their own artistic responses, creating a larger corpus that will manifest itself in the form of a platform starting this fall.

The exhibition opening with artist talk (Akinbode Akinbiyi) took place on June 10th at Oyoun.

The exhibition was open from 11 to 30 June between 12 p.m. and 20 p.m. every day.


For rongin shagor – the colorful ocean – we're currently looking for multidisciplinary BIPOC* artists and activists to participate and respond to a poem by Afro-German poet May Ayim. The artistic responses will be collected on a virtual platform to be launched later this year. Detailed information and the application form (deadline 1st August) can be found here!


Mightier Than a Trampled Flower
Illustration artwork "Ishtar and the Mightier Flowers" by Dariushka Alexander.

Mightier than a trampled flower

women* in (post-)war, demystifying woman*hood and queer-feminist alliance

Oyoun's second curatorial focus is a testimony for women* in wars, against marginalizing historiography. It illuminates the struggles of women* whose chronicles are interwoven with colonial history and the decolonial movement: women* in Brazil in the midst of pervasive femicide, resistance fighters* in the Algerian War of Independence, and “comfort women”, the survivors of sexual enslavement by the Imperial Japanese Army.

Numerous depictions of women* at war are symptomatic of patriarchal-colonial oppression. Mightier than a trampled flower deconstructs the fetishization of a "trampled flower" - broken and fragile but still pretty and soft, confronts the gender binarity in our language and reclaims womanhood in the hands of fighters.

The focus will start in April 2022 with the project AS* PAPANGUS by the Afro-Brazilian artist Bruna Amaro.

women* in (post-)war, demystifying woman*hood and queer-feminist alliance

The second curatorial focus of Oyoun is a witness to women* in wars and against the history-making that is neglectful of experiences of the marginalized. It sheds light on the struggles of women*, whose chronicles are entangled with colonialism and decolonial movements, such as: women* in Brazil facing the threat of pervasive femicide, women* resistance fighters in the Algerian War of Independence, and “comfort women” , the survivors of forced sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army.

Numerous representations of women* in wars are symptomatic of patriarchal-colonial oppression. Mightier than a trampled flower deconstructs the fetishization of “a trampled flower” – broken and fragile but still pretty and soft, while tackling the gender binary embedded in our language and reclaiming woman*hood in the hands of women* fighters.

The public program launches on April 30 with the project AS* PAPANGUS by the Afro-Brazilian artist Bruna Amaro.

Click here for more information



News + highlights



Get in touch

Do you have a question or idea about the concept, program or cooperation? Then feel free to write us a message and we will get back to you shortly. 

    I confirm that I accept the Privacy Policy.