Black people representations – behind the skin colours

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Black people representations or How people with all “Black” skin shades, are visible. Mainstream media have been criticized to erase people diversity from their channels. What is it in the arts? How do artists with African heritage come along with it?

It’s the journey we follow with a new series of articles. Find all the visuals and more content on our Instagram gallery.

Last Summer, the artist Rebecca Pokua Korang offered a contemporary art performance at the Berlin African Food Festival.
This event presents food from several parts of Africa. Food is often the first and fastest way to introduce people to one’s culture. Over a weekend Berliners are invited to discover, test, enjoy African food specialities. Not only that. The event offers a wide panel of music, DJ sets, designers, live performances and so on.

Black people representations – Rebecca’s vision

As a performing artist, Rebecca Pokua Korang opened the door to discuss Black people representations and skin colour perceptions. “Artists are here to have people reflect, to point out taboos, to express their feeling”, says Rebecca.

Let’s have a look at her performance! See our Instagram Stories for the videos.

Behind skin colours

The two performers, Rebecca Pokua Korang (painted in white) and Kimberly Siah Houmouna (painted in black), have somewhat the same skin shade. Indeed, Rebecca is native of Ghana and Germany. Kimberly is from Ukraine and Congo. It has been interesting to discover it, while they removed the colour from their body and face. We saw there an interesting way to question “What is behind a mask.”
As much as they are visible, aren’t all skin shades “masks” and covers hiding individuals?

It is a sensitive topic. The power of art can help to create collective disucssions and individual healing.

How do media shift populations representations because of their skin colours?
Making Black people visible is not delegate to the mainstream media only. Artists with Africa heritage, like Rebecca and Kimberly, create their own representations and narrative. Have a look at our Instagram gallery to see some of them.
Artists describe, create and sometimes generate provocative artwork. Not to mention criticisms that she faced after her performance at the Berlin African Food Festival. Some pointed out that she was doing a “Black Face”.
She explained:

It is my responsibility to create discussions, even when it includes being provocative. This doesn’t mean being disrespectful or out of consciousness. I’ve never wanted to hurt anyone, even though I can understand that some people can be disturbed. The freedom of arts allows us to go over boundaries, conventions and rules.

Rebecca Pokua Korang is an emerging Afro-German artist from Berlin. With a strong interest in performance art and site-specific work, she explores different approaches to choreography. Rebecca Pokua Korang studied BA Dance at Kingston University, when she, together with Pinelopi Kefou, established a two-women dance theatre called A Blooming Mess, aiming to create more collaborative work.