Burkinabé Rising: The Art of Resistance in Burkina Faso

Pera Film is hosting a special screening of the documentary Burkinabé Rising, a new documentary from Cultures of Resistance Films showcasing creative nonviolent resistance in Burkina Faso. Following the screening, artist Naz Kökentürk will be in conversation with curator Mine Kaplangı.

A small, landlocked country in West Africa, Burkina Faso is home to a vibrant community of artists and engaged citizens, who provide an example of the type of political change that can be achieved when people come together. It is an inspiration, not only to the rest of Africa but also to the rest of the world.

Through music, film, ecology, visual art, and architecture, the people featured in this film are carrying on the revolutionary spirit of Thomas Sankara. After assuming the presidency in 1983, Sankara was killed in a 1987 coup d’état led by his friend and close advisor Blaise Compaoré, who subsequently ruled the country as an autocrat for twenty-seven years. In October 2014, a massive popular insurrection led to his removal. Today, the spirit of resistance is mightier than ever in Burkina Faso.

In the fall of 2016, director Iara Lee traveled throughout the country to film Burkinabè Rising. Through this journey, she met a remarkable cast of artists, musicians, and activists who are using the country’s artistic traditions to propel forward a message of resistance: Joey le Soldat, a rapper, infuses his lyrics with references to the struggles of the impoverished youth in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, as well as those of the farmers who toil in the country outside. Marto, Burkina Faso’s most well-known graffiti artist, turns barren city walls into colorful murals decrying injustice. Malika la Slameuse, a women’s rights activist, performs slam poetry that offers a feminist perspective on a male-dominated art form. Serge Aimé Coulibaly uses dance as a form of political resistance, with movement borne from a need to speak out and take action.

In addition to profiling individual artists, Burkinabè Rising documents a festival of recycled art and interviews groups of farmers who are standing up to the incroachment of corporate agriculture. Displaying a panorama of creative resistance, the film shows how the resurgent Burkinabè pursuit of peace and justice manifests itself through cultural expression, permeating every aspect of daily life.

Director: Iara Lee
Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, US, 2017, 102′, color
French, English, Mooré with Turkish subtitles

30 May Wednesday: Screening & Talk

18:30 Screening of Burkinabé Rising
20:00 Talk: Artist Naz Kökentürk in conversation with Mine Kaplangı

Screening and talk are free admissions, drop in. The talk will be in Turkish.

Iara Lee, a Brazilian of Korean descent, is an activist, filmmaker, and founder/director of the Cultures of Resistance Network, an organization that promotes global solidarity and connects and supports agitators, educators, farmers, and artists to build a more just and peaceful world through creative resistance and nonviolent action!

Naz Köktentürk is a photographer who has lived in Paris, France for a long time but she is currently working and living in Istanbul. She mostly worked on Middle Eastern-Central Asia region, for countries such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan etc. Köktentürk has created photo projects for many years on social problems, outliners, all minorities, pain and on issues related to the street and war victims. In recent years, particularly in Afghanistan, she produces awareness projects on impact of the post-war period on people. Also she works with many international medical aid organizations. Also she is an editor for many different publications, writes on art, history and cultural researches on different cities. She is currently working and living in Istanbul, Turkey.

Mine Kaplangı is the co-founder of Collective Çukurcuma. She is currently working as an artist representative and curator at BLOK art space contemporary art space in Istanbul. She received her bachelor degree in Philosophy in Istanbul University and MA (Certificate Program) in Philosophy of Arts & Aesthetics in Bologna University/ DAMS Faculty. She is also working as a freelance editor for contemporary art platforms like Artunlimited and Artfridge. Kaplangı curated the 2017 exhibition House of Wisdom at Framer Framed.