Photo: African Odyssey: Ancestral Memories

‘Brooklyn to Benin’ features two documentary shorts about the personal journey of two Haitian-American women exploring the historical, cultural and spiritual connections between the African diaspora and Benin

Photo: ‘African Odyssey: Ancestral Memories’

WaWaWa Diaspora Centre in collaboration with the Brooklyn Public Library presents “Brooklyn to Benin: Ancestral Memories Part II,” a screening of two short documentary films, followed with an interactive discussion on the trans-Atlantic slave trade, heritage and identity facilitated by Régine Romain and Cathleen Antoine on Tuesday, December 19.

Brooklyn to Benin is an educational and mixed-media series which explores the historical, cultural and spiritual connections between the African diaspora and Benin, West Africa, from a Haitian-American perspective. The evening will begin with the screenings of the documentaries “Brooklyn to Benin: A Vodou Pilgrimage” and “African Odyssey: Ancestral Memories.” The two short films document the journey of two women of Haitian descent who cross time and space to travel to Benin, where many Africans were stolen and sold into captivity.

“‘Brooklyn to Benin: A Voodoo Pilgrimage’ is a nomadic experimental mixed media project, exploring the empowering elements and rituals found within traditional and syncretic African religions practiced in the basement temples of Brooklyn to the magnificent Vodou festival annually held in Ouidah, Benin,” said director Regina Romain.

Cathleen Antoine (left), Régine Romain (right)

Régine Romain is a Haitian American artist, educator and anthropologist from Brooklyn. She is the founder/director of Urban PhotoPoets, Brooklyn Photo Salon and now the WaWaWa Diaspora Centre, which is an inter-generational arts, education and exchange project in West Africa. She currently resides is in Benin.

The second short of the night, “African Odyssey: Ancestral Memories,” captures the journey of a Haitian-American woman during her first visit to Benin. The protagonist travels into the troubling depths of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and emerges reclaiming a new identity. The short by director Emeka Anozie was produced by Cathleen Marie Antoine, a Haitian-American educator with over 15 years experience as an NYC public school practitioner who has incorporated the arts and social activism in her pedagogy. Antoine currently works as an education and equity consultant with the NYU Metro Center to support teachers, administrators and community members around issues of race, power and privilege, and to ensure the positive racial identity development through education of young people of the African Diaspora.

The evening will conclude with an interactive discussion facilitated by Régine Romain and Cathleen Antoine on the topics of memory, myth and magic.

Brooklyn to Benin: Ancestral Memories Part II – Film Screening and Artist Talk

When: Tuesday, December 19, 7:00pm – 8:30pm; doors open at 6:30pm (free and open to all ages)

Where: Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY

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