rongin shagor / রঙিন সাগর


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 is 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.

exhibition opening with artist talk (Akinbode Akinbiyi) and live stream will take place on June 10th at Oyoun.

Time schedule:

18:00 – Opening
20:00 - Talk with artist Akinbode Akinbiyi and Muhammad Salah Abdulaziz in Oyoun Garden.

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



Concept: Madhumita Nandi
Curation, artistic direction: Anja Saleh, Madhumita Nandi
Communication: Tariq Bajwa
Design: Chhandak Pradhan
Funding/ Admin: Sophia Schmidt, Paul Räther