“Colors of Italy”. Celebrating the Black Italian Experience in New York
On Black History Month the Consulate General of Italy in New York hosts “Colors of Italy”, an event to celebrate the contribution and the experience of the Afro-Italians of New York. The live conversation hosted at the Consulate will feature Borinquen Gallo, an Italian-Puerto Rican Bronx-based multi-disciplinary visual artist, Valentino Agunu a.k.a Wado, an Italian-Nigerian multilingual and multifaceted Afrobeat artist, Eden Ghebresellassie, an Italian-Eritrean global creative strategy lead, Jacqueline Greaves,aJamaican-Italian cultural organizer and blogger, and Fred Kudjo Kuwornu,an Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker, producer, and D&I consultant.
Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated in February in the United States.
Colors of Italy is a hybrid nomadic series curated and produced by Fred Kuwornu to explore and promote the rich diversity of identity, culture, and multi-ethnicity experience amongst Italians through art, music, design, fashion, literature, film.
Date: Thursday, February 24, 2022
Time: 6:00 PM
The event will also be streamed live on the Facebook and YouTube pages of the Consulate.
You can follow us at https://youtu.be/EGlnW-RRW2o
All attendants will be required to present proof of vaccination or a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken in the 24 hours prior to the event. KN95/N95 masks are mandatory.
Fred Kudjo Kuwornu is an Italian-Ghanaian filmmaker, activist, educator, born and raised in Italy and based in New York, where he founded the production company Do The Right Films. He holds a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Bologna, with a focus on sociology and mass communication studies. He is best known as the director of critically acclaimed documentaries such as Blaxploitalian, Inside Buffalo, and 18 Ius Soli. His documentaries deal with political and social themes, such as racism, interracial relations, diversity, Afro-Italians, and Black Diaspora identity in Italy and the African diaspora in the world. In July 2021, He launched the platform BlackItalia.info and, in collaboration with AATI (American Association of Teachers of Italian), he created “Teaching Black Italy” a one-week refresher online course for professors of Italian and Black Studies which explore the contemporary presence of the African diaspora in Italy. Kuwornu is a Diversity&Inclusion consultant for Netflix Italy and other media broadcasters in Italy. He taught courses at Colorado College, University of Minneapolis, Middlebury College Italian Summer School, and lectured in more than 200 Colleges in North America. His production has been awarded by the New York Foundation for the Arts, Open Society, Premio Mutti. He is currently developing “We Were There” a feature documentary about the African presence during the renaissance in Europe.
Borinquen Gallo is an Italian-Puerto Rican Bronx-based multi-disciplinary artist whose work delves into themes of transformation, community development, socio-cultural systems, and structures through sculpture and installations made using a range of repurposed materials. Everyday detritus, construction, and packaging materials including trash bags, debris netting, and caution tape, are painstakingly manually knitted, threaded, and reconfigured into lush textural weavings both individually and collaboratively. Across a broad range of considerations — material, formal, psychologically intimate, and social — the work aims to modulate between the familiar and the surprising so as to fundamentally disrupt viewers’ assumptions regarding what is valuable and discardable.
Gallo received her BFA in Painting and Sculpture from the Cooper Union for The Advancement of Science and Art, her MFA in Painting from Hunter College. Gallo has exhibited Burning in Water Gallery, BRIC Arts Media, Smack Mellon, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Wave Hill Sunroom Project Space, The National Academy Museum, the Queens Museum, Columbia University, The Cooper Union, as well as several art fairs including Volta (2019), Scope Miami (2015) and Clio Art Fair (2014). She has received numerous awards including the Sol Shaviro Award (2015), The Marion Netter Fellowship (2010), the Doris Leibowitz Art Educator Award (2009). Residencies include The Children Museum of Manhattan (2019), The Bronx Museum of the Arts AIM Program (2015), the Vermont Studio Center (2013), and The Cooper Union Artist Residency (2011). She has worked on curatorial projects and community projects with BAM Fischer, Pratt Institute, MoCADA, and the Bronx Museum. Gallo is currently represented by Malin Gallery and is Adjunct Associate Professor of Art and Design Education at Pratt Institute in New York.
Eden Ghebresellassie is a multi-media marketer and creative strategist, born and raised in Milan, Italy by Eritrean parents. After graduating from high school, Eden decided to move to follow her dream of studying at an American University. In 2006, her dream was fulfilled when she graduated from VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a minor in French. After a short stint working at Rolling Stone magazine, Eden decided to continue her education by earning a graduate degree from the FIFA Master in International Laws, Humanities and Management of Sports. As a marketing strategy lead for ESPN, she brings a successful cocktail of creativity, brand knowledge, and research to the table; a genius that has allowed her to strategize and lead multimillion-dollar campaigns for numerous events under the ESPN umbrella. (ESPYS, X Games, ESPN House, and NBA Africa, to name a few.) And more than just representing African women in the male-dominated world of sports, she’s putting inclusion into practice by applying that strategy to breakthrough marketing and diversity events.
Outside of the sports, marketing, and entertainment world, Ghebresellassie is also heavily involved in Project Tseihigh (PjT)—a non-profit organization created to bring sustainable solar power to impoverished communities in Africa—serving as the CFO and a board member. Launching in Eritrea, the Project Tsehigh team has worked to provide the people of Maaya—a southern village two hours from the capital of Asmara—with clean, sustainable energy. The team fundraises to donate solar panels, batteries, and related accessories to emerging communities currently living with limited electricity.
Valentino Agunu a.k.a Wado, is an Italian-Nigerian multilingual and multifaceted artist, born and raised in Rome, a naturalized U.S. citizen, based in New York. In the Urhobo language, Wado means “well done”. His parents met in Italy in the 1980s, where they both came from Nigeria to attend university. His father graduated in Pharmacy at the La Sapienza University of Rome and his mother in Philosophy at the Pontifical Urbaniana. After a long period spent in Italy, they moved to the United States.
Valentino continued his studies, graduating in biotechnologies at the University of Camerino. In 2015, Italian director Pupi Avatichoose him for the leading role in the tv movie “Le Nozze di Laura”. In 2017, Valentino reunited with his family in the U.S. In the same year, he joined the US Navywhere he served as Hospital Corpsman, in the emergency department.
After serving the U.S. Navy, Valentino began his eclectic musical journey: establishing himself as an Afrobeat artist using his mother tongue language: Italian, as well as English, pidgin English, and Urhobo language. He is currently working on his first album and he released January the single “Waka”.
Jacqueline Greaves was born in Kingston, Jamaica, moving to New York at the age of ten. She blogs about cooking and is interested in the rich and traditional culinary influences of Jamaica including Africa, Asia and Europe. Her marriage to a Southern Italian brought about a strong curiosity about the vast regional culinary Italian customs. The colonial spirit of a Caribbean cook she was able through the years to combine new ingredients and flavors to seek out common ground between the two totally disparate culinary traditions.
She lives in New York City where she has created with her husband a literary salon in which conversation and food abound geared towards feeding both mind and body. These conversations led to the creation in 2004 of the English language literary festival Le Conversazioni (Capri – New York – Rome) that has since been extended to the Italian language as well. She is a co-founder of Flying Whale, and recently began collaborating with the new Black food magazine For The Culture and the Italian online journal Linkiesta – Gastronomika.