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A Choreography of Conviviality

From June 2 to 4, 2023, the HKW will celebrate its reopening with a series of concerts, lectures, performances, processions, readings and rituals, as well as the opening of the exhibition O Quilombismo: Of Resistance and Insistence. Of flight as attack. Of alternative democratic-egalitarian political philosophies.

Based on the history of the institution - inaugurated in 1957 as the Congress Hall, transformed in 1989 into the House of World Cultures - we foreground cultures of "congregation" - etymologically, cultures of coming together, of walking together: practices that entail communality, hospitality, and the values of plurality.

Acts of Opening Again sees itself as a multiplicity of offerings and reflections on the question of what to give up and what to sustain, so that all can grow together in la casa grande - the big house, this planet.

HKW Berlin: A house to create hope together and cultivate respect for each other.

It is a welcome to the bearers and mediators of cultural and community knowledge and an unlocking of the doors to enter together. A place to laugh, dance, flirt, eat, be upset or sad - a place to move and be moved. A place for the vulnerability and power of our presence. A house to create hope together and cultivate respect for each other.

An activation of the archives of bodies and the central role of the corporeal as a site of discourse and social transformation - with these performative practices, HKWR creates spaces for the expression and encounter of a multitude of bodies.
They can engage in conversation and reactivate emotions of the past to better express the conditions of the present and seek a healing future.

Over three days, in the tradition of rituals of new beginnings, the HKW presents performances by María Magdalena Campos Pons and Ilê Obá Sileké, the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé House in Berlin, followed by Jean-Daniel Lafontant.
Bernardo Oyarzún invites the audience to express their support and participation in the "new construction" of the house with symbolic gifts, in the spirit of el medán, a festive practice of pre-colonial origin based on a celebration of reciprocity.

In the same spirit of such orchestration, Hwati Masimba invites us to a ceremony of breaking bread that emerged from the story of Chimurenga, the liberation war of the Shona and Ndebele people in the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

Bread Scores is inspired by bread smuggled into prison - fellow soldiers, relatives and loved ones sent hidden newspaper clippings, information about the ongoing struggle, words of solidarity and support, and love letters to ease the loneliness of political prisoners. Masimba hides musical scores inspired by traditional Chimurenga resistance songs in the loaves of bread and invites women musicians to interpret them.

On the surrounding frieze in the foyer of the HKW, artist Tanka Fonta has painted a circular score, a mural in the making, and a visual-sound composition of nine thematic movements, orchestrated in evocative languages as visual, aural, and poetic impressions.
These visual scores form the starting point for a hymn arranged by Berlin musicians:inside with Fulani, Dioula, Bambara and Wolof backgrounds.

Quilombismo can also be experienced through relatedness to and awareness of each other, as is the case in the realm of music and dance in African and Afro-Diasporic improvisational techniques - with call-and-response, storytelling, intergenerational knowledge sharing, and the power and spirituality of a community. First up is the Afro-Colombian bullerengue: Members of various migrant:in communities, feminist and other emancipatory groups and advocacy groups living in Berlin are invited to try out the venerable tradition of bailes cantados - sung dances - in workshops.

Knowing that the body is the primary site of sovereignty, HKW's opening weekend invites all to experience visual, aural, sensory, and choreographed narratives of togetherness and to be inspired by the philosophy and practice of quilombismo's polyphonic performativity.

With performative performances by, among others:
  • María Magdalena Campos Pons
  • Tanka Fonta
  • Masimba Hwati
  • Jean-Daniel Lafontant
  • Bernardo Oyarzún

With concerts by:
  • Awilo Longomba
  • Oumou Sangaré
  • Estrellas del Caribe
  • and DJ sets

Additional information
Opening hours:

02.06. from 4 pm
03.06. and 04.06. from 12 noon

Admission is free throughout the weekend.


The HKW offers precise information on accessibility here
June 2023