The second night of the II Ma(g)dalena International Festival started on a quite sad note. The Guatemala-Xela Magdalenas presented their installation #NosDuelen56, dedicated to the 56 Guatemalan girls that were killed due to government negligence on March 8th, 2017. The work consists of explanatory texts (both in English and Spanish), poetry, images, and a doll crafting table, where visitors are encouraged to create a doll and give her the name of one of the girls who died while protesting against the abuses that were committed on them in the shelter where they were living. After repeating out loud "Stop killing girls! Stop raping girls!", the visitors used the materials to create dolls and poetry dedicated to the girls.
Inside the Studio 1 at Uferstudios Berlin we could also admire the photo exhibition “Marias do Brazil: law and art” by Noélia Albuquerque about the struggle of the Forum Theatre Group Marias do Brazil – composed by women working as housemaids – for changing of the work laws.
The performance of the night was presented by the Group Madalena-Anastácia from Rio de Janeiro, who staged the Forum-Theatre-Musical "Nega ou Negra?" Dressed in white, they first explained where their name comes from. Anastácia was an African princess who was taken as a slave to Brazil and who was tortured to death for fighting oppression. Now Anastácia is a symbol of resistance and for black women in Brazil.
The piece is developed from an aesthetic investigation about the over-sexualized image of the black woman and rape culture. At the beginning of the play, we could see news headers from Brazil that highlighted that sexual violence and rape against black women has grown rapidly in the past years. At the same time, typical Carnival songs glorify rape and racism. The excuse? Music is art and art is culture and culture is freedom - so at least to the Brazilian courts. The theatre play invited the audience to take a critical look at the "culture" that promotes and naturalizes sexism, racism, and violence against black women. The response of the public was various and creative, and at the end, the lyrics of one of the songs were changed so that they would empower black women.
After the forum, the group performed a traditional dance named Jongo, a dance of African origin and danced to the sound of drums. A part of the Afro-Brazilian culture, the rhythm was brought to Brazil by Bantu blacks, kidnapped to be sold as slaves. The dance had a strong influence in shaping the samba and also in popular culture of Brazil as a whole. At the end, the audience was invited to join the dancers on stage and perform a collective dance for (and with the permission of) the ancestors.