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Black Political Making: A Screening and Conversation with Esery Mondesir and Nataleah Hunter-Young

When: Thursday, April 8th, 2-4PM EST

Hosted by the GEM Lab.

Registration through Eventbrite:

Black Political Making

A screening and conversation between filmmaker Esery Mondesir and writer/curator Nataleah Hunter-Young on Black aesthetics, praxis, and resistance. Drawing on their own practice, Mondesir and Hunter-Young will also discuss the ways that creative processes can function as and through an ethic of radical care across the Black Atlantic.

ESERY MONDESIR is a Haitian-born video artist and filmmaker. He was a high school teacher and a labour organizer before receiving an MFA in cinema production from York University (Toronto) in 2017. Mondesir’s work draws from personal and collective memory, official archives and vernacular records, and the everyday to suggest a reading of our society from its margins. His films, which explore migration and exile as sites of identity formation as well as cultural resistance, have been exhibited in Canada and internationally. Mondesir currently lives in Toronto and teaches at OCAD University.

NATALEAH HUNTER-YOUNG is a writer, film curator, and Ph.D. candidate in Communication and Culture at Ryerson and York Universities. A Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, her doctoral research explores the socio-cultural impacts of social media videos documenting anti-Black police brutality and their representations in contemporary art. At the Toronto International Film Festival, Nataleah is international associate programmer for Africa, the Middle East and Black Diaspora. She has also supported festival programming for the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. To find her recent writing visit Canadian Art Magazine, Xtra Magazine, the Gardiner Museum, and issue #58 of PUBLIC: Arts | Culture | Ideas, which she also co-edited. Nataleah was born to two and raised by many in Toronto.

IMAGE: Still from Sammy, Esery Mondesir, 2016.

About the Race Critical Theories seminar series: The 2020-21 GEM Seminar is organized around the problem of Race Critical Theories. Among other inspirations, it borrows its conceptual orientation from Philomena Essed and David Theo Goldberg’s 2001 eponymous collection. The volume, which both gathered seminal scholarship on race and racism from the 1980s and 1990s, alongside newly commissioned responses to that work, sought to “look back reflectively as a way forward.” Our seminar returns to this historically grounded but present-focused intervention in order to look back, as a way forward, again. We are equally inspired by the project’s challenge to nation-centric (e.g. the United States) understandings of race and racial discourse. Instead, it draws on a transnational network of scholars and activists to explore a set of multi-sited and global dynamics, demonstrating that “there is no singular national space that does or should dominate the thinking about race and racism.” This formulation is critical to GEM’s mission and informs the organization of this years’ remote lectures and workshops. Race Critical Theories works both to examine the specificities of race and racism in Canada and the US – settler colonialism, anti-Blackness, racial capitalism, white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, among other crucial issues – but also to locate these paradigms and expand our frames to other sub- and trans-national structures. This includes what Denise Ferreira da Silva terms the global idea of race. Finally, we take as our starting point the global Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, as well as the deeply violent inequalities exposed by the present pandemic’s disproportionate assault on Black and Indigenous communities, People of Color, Migrants, Queer and Trans* people, among many others marginalized by cisheteropatriarchy and white supremacy.

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