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Soul Sisters Berlin is proud to host the first-ever Black Arts Retreat for black women in Germany in collaboration with Kelly Thomas (BAR concept founder, USA)! Together, we’ve focused on creating a program that incorporates meditation, creative workshops and movement activities focusing on the mental, spiritual, and physical well-being of black women.
The Black Arts Retreat is a safe space for black women of the African diaspora to release, replenish and empower themselves.
The Black Arts Retreat: Soul Sisters Edition is a time in which black women may unapologetically reclaim their space and reaffirm their self-esteem, value and contributions to themselves and ultimately to their societies.
Workshop: Visual Creole
Karina Griffith is a PhD Student with the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. She completed her Masters degree in Feature Film at Goldsmiths College, University of London. A moving image artist and practitioner, her films and installations explore the themes of fear and fantasy, often focusing on how they relate to identity and the immigrant perspective. Her current research interests include Black authorship in German cinema, performance ethnography and creolization.
Workshop: Black & Brown Bodies in Motion
Nasheeka Nedsreal is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She studied Dance and Fine Arts at Loyola and Tulane University while collaborating with local and visiting performance artists and companies. She has presented her early work in New Orleans, New York, and Berlin in numerous dance spaces. In recent years, Nasheeka has traveled extensively exploring movement, yoga and theatre as a student, educator and performer. In 2014, she co-founded, Soul Sisters Berlin, a platform connecting Black women in Germany. In the spring, she will begin teaching movement classes for people of color.
Founder of the Black Arts Retreat, Kelly ‘GreenLight’ Thomas is a Performance Artist, Activist and Educator from New Jersey USA with roots in American South and the Caribbean. Kelly holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Educational Theater from New York University. Kelly also holds a Sound and Music Healing credential from the New York Open Center. As a performance artist Kelly conceives interactive, imaginative arts experiences that activate her background in gender studies, theater, group dynamics, Afro-Diasporic cultural practice, and holistic healing. Kelly has been designing and curating creative work in and around New York City for the past 10 years and created the Black Arts Retreat in 2013 as a restorative experience for artists of the African Diaspora who give so much. Currently, Kelly is creating music & performance around emotional health, women’s narratives, and nature as an Artist in residence with the Essential Elements Creative Collective at New Jersey’s Gallery Aferro. In collaboration with Christine Seraphin, Kelly will serve as Toast Mistress of Black Arts Retreat Berlin creating brave spaces for dialogue and fun community building activity!
Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro
Workshop: The Monuments; A Workshop on Afro-Future Positions
„Risk is essential in the concept & practice of democracy because it defines the moment when one chooses to make images or chooses to live them.“
Mba Bikoro is an artist and teacher practicing creative methods of decolonisation in public spaces and re-inventing histories through forms of archive and media arts. She is artistic Director of Squat Monuments, Curator of Performance Programmes at SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin and Guest Associate Lecturer in Philosophy & Visual Cultures. Mba Bikoro uses live art practices and digital photography story-telling to create living and performative archives contesting the nature of our cultures, histories and identity. She explains that her research is a decolonial time-machine reacting to sense-memory and political landscapes to create Human Monuments about spaces and peoples across all cultures to re-invent memorial post colonial gestures towards freedom. Mba Bikoro will facilitate a creative workshop on creating Monuments of Afro-Future Tales. Using forms and methods of decolonizing theatre, the session reflects on gestures of visibility and elasticity of speech in sound, body and objects.
Retreat Organizer/Toast Mistress
Christine Seraphin, organizer of the Black Arts Retreat: Soul Sisters Edition, is an Afro-Caribbean American vocalist, songwriter, educator and activist from Connecticut. She studied vocal and piano performance as well as music business at Wagner College in New York City. Christine has facilitated Diversity Tolerance & Sensitivity conferences in Connecticut and Hawaii. During her college years, she co-organized annual events focusing on Afro-diasporic history in music. For the last 7 years, Christine has been performing globally with various ensembles and musical projects. She uses her music and song-writing as an instrument for social/civil rights activism and the encouragement of conscious thought. In addition to performing, Christine also works as an early childhood educator and dedicates time to researching the social development of children with Afro-diasporic backgrounds in German school systems. In 2014, Christine helped co-organize Soul Sisters Berlin, a collective dedicated to connecting Black women in Germany. In collaboration with Kelly Thomas, Christine will serve as Toast Mistress of Black Arts Retreat Berlin creating brave spaces for dialogue, and fun community building activity!
Workshop: Well-being & Healing through Yoga and Meditation
Melody is an enthusiastic yogi, educator/counselor and dancer from Berlin and Brooklyn, New York, who currently leads yoga classes at the Heile Haus e.V. in Berlin. Melody holds degrees in Africana Studies, Sociology, and Education from Hunter College, City University of New York and Washington University. She is trained in the Sivananda Yoga tradition. For more than a decade, Melody has worked with black girls and women and women of color exploring the topics of black girlhood, home, radical self-care, freedom from gender violence and sex positivity.
“The intention of the community class is to open up a space where we can return to ourselves and feel at home in our bodies as we navigate structural violence such as racism, poverty and homophobia within our lives and within the western yoga world.”