Filipa César and Sana N’Hada

2018 AFIELD Fellowship was awarded to Filipa César and Sana N’Hada for their project Onshore Mediatheque based in Bubaque, Guinea-Bissau.

In dialogue with Cadjigue, a local film collective, Filipa César and Sana N’Hada have initiated the Onshore Mediatheque project to give visibility to the Bijagó people, their culture and the deeply entangled relationship they have with their precious environment. It consists of a media center for film and digital audiovisual production, internet publishing and with residency facilities in Bubaque – the central island of the Bijagós archipelago.

With this infrastructure, Filipa César and Sana N’Hada wish to initiate a sustainable local media practice through a series of workshops with artists and media practitioners working in the global South. It will also provide this practice with a permanent internet presence and online library. These media-based interventions will also be discussed during several public platforms in Cologne and Berlin and through a mutual teaching/learning experience between Bijagó media activists and international students and artists. The overall “Onshore Mediatheque" project is conceived as the implementation process for a media practice which is then meant to continue on a self-sustained, community-supported basis.

A former guerrilla activist of the liberation movement against Portuguese colonialism, Sana N’Hada (1950) is a Guinean pioneer filmmaker who has been producing films in the Bijagós Island since 1979, and has witnessed the tragic effects of development on Bijagós indigenous culture and their natural environment. Filipa César (1975) is an artist and filmmaker interested in expanded possibilities of moving image practices. Since 2011, she has been researching and getting affected by the imaginary of the militant cinema of Guinea Bissau. César has been showing her work regularly in film festivals such as Berlinale, Rotterdam, Curtas, DocLisboa and Oberhausen and in contemporary art venues such as SAAVY (Berlin), Khiasma (Paris), Tensta konsthall, e-flux, Mumok, MoMA, Harvard Film Museum.

For the past seven years, César and N’Hada have been working closely to research and reactivate the imaginary of the Guinean liberation movement through a collective, experimental archival project departing from the remains of the national militant cinema. Their collaborative project, “Luta ca caba inda – The struggle is not over yet”, involving many other participants, unfolded in various events, film productions, conferences and publications. It led to a 2013 exhibition at the Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris and to the internationally widely shown film Spell Reel.

Watch this video to know more.

cover image: Filipa César and Sana N’Hada top image: Coletivo Cadjigue, Guinea Bissau