Film Screenings + Talk

Idrissou Mora- Kpai

Saturday, December 06 – Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Idrissou Mora - Kpai Film Program
Film Screening + Talk

The Africa Institute in Sharjah, UAE, is pleased to present two of Idrissou Mora – Kpai’s films; America Street (2019), Indochina – Traces of a Mother (2011). Idrissou Mora-Kpai is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies at Ithaca College and an award winning filmmaker whose films have been screened world-wide. The films will be made available for audiences as free livestream, via the Africa Institute website, between 6-9 December, 2020.

On the 9th at 7:00 pm (UAE Time), and to conclude the four days of live streaming, film director Idrissou Mora – Kpai will be in conversation with Salah M. Hassan, Director, The Africa Institute.
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Selected films

1. America Street
Watch the Film


On America Street in Charleston’s East Side neighborhood, Joe is the owner of a small corner store, the heart of an old but slowly disappearing black community. Almost half of all African-Americans trace their origins back to Charleston, a city that is still haunted by its slave owning past. In the face of the multiple challenges that African Americans face, Joe is determined to stay hopeful and to resist losing his neighborhood to the rising forces of gentrification.

Through the character of Joe, my film examines how African Americans feel marginalized in a once predominantly black city like Charleston and how white supremacy is becoming more pervasive and insidious in America.

Director: Idrissou Mora – Kpai
74 minutes
English with Arabic subtitles?
2. Indochina – Traces of a Mother

Watch the Film


Between 1946 and 1954, over 60 000 African soldiers were enlisted to fight the Viet Minh.Pitted against one another by circumstances, these two colonised peoples came into contact and a number of African soldiers took Vietnamese women as wives. Out of these unions, numerous mixed-race children were born. At the end of the war, the colonial army ordered that all the black children be repatriated to Africa, officially to protect them from the Viet Minh. While some children left with their mothers and fathers, others were simply taken away by their fathers, leaving their mothers behind. Abandoned in orphanages, those that had neither mother nor father were put up for mass adoption by African officers, as was the case with Christophe.

Christophe long avoided facing the scars and identity complexes left by this abrupt separation from his mother and homeland. By encouraging him to undertake a journey into his own past, the film opens a little-known chapter of the Indochina war.

Director: Idrissou Mora – Kpai
72 minutes
African languages/ French with English and Arabic? Subtitles

Idrissou Mora – Kpai

is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies at Ithaca College and an award winning filmmaker whose films have been screened world-wide at numerous prestigious festivals, such as Berlin, Rotterdam, Vienna, Milano, Busan, Sheffield, and garnered many international

accolades. Born in Benin, West Africa, Idrissou has made a name for himself with his social documentaries tackling post-colonial African societies, African migrations and diasporas.

He is a recipient of the prestigious Dutch Prince Claus Award for his artistic achievements dedicated to promote social change in the Global South.

Idrissou’s most recent film, America Street explores the daily struggles of an African-American community in a quickly gentrifying historical black neighborhood in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, just after the 2015 Walter Scott killing.

A graduate of the Konrad Wolf Film University of Babelsberg (Germany), Idrissou has been a guest artist and visiting faculty member at Cornell University, Duke University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Carina Ray
is an Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies and Director of Faculty Mentoring at Brandeis University. A scholar of race and sexuality; comparative colonialisms and nationalisms; migration and maritime history; and the relationship between race, ethnicity, and political power, Carina’s research is primarily focused on Ghana and its diasporas. She is the author of Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana (Ohio University Press, 2015), winner of the American Historical Association’s Wesley-Logan Book Prize in 2016 and the African Studies Association’s Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize in 2017. Her articles have appeared in Gender and History, PMLA, and The American Historical Review, among others. Carina’s new book project, a trilogy, engages conceptions of blackness, the body, and human difference, as well as processes of race making and identity transformation across the precolonial, colonial, and post-independence periods in Ghana. She is also working on an oral history project documenting the experiences of Cubans who served in Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. She is the editor, with Toyin Falola, of the newly established Cambridge University Press book series, African Identities; editor of Ghana Studies; and member of the Board of Editors of The American Historical Review and History in Africa.

Salah M. Hassan

is the Director of The Africa Institute, Sharjah, UAE. Hassan is the Goldwin Smith Professor and Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities, and Professor of Art History and Visual Culture in the Africana Studies and Research Center, and the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, US. Hassan is an art critic, curator, and founding editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. He authored, edited and co-edited several books including Ibrahim El Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (Museum for African Art and Tate Modern, 2012, 2013), Darfur and the Crisis of Governance: A Critical Reader (Cornell University Press, 2009), Diaspora, Memory, Place (Prestel Publishing, 2008), Unpacking Europe (NAi Publishers, 2001) and (Forum for African Arts, 2001). Hassan has curated several exhibitions including major ones at the Venice and Dakar Biennales, and most recently The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945–Present), and The Egyptian Surrealists: When Art Becomes Liberty (1938–1965) sponsored by the Sharjah Art Foundation and which opened in Sharjah and Cairo (2016). Hassan was the Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Professor in African and Afro-American Studies, Brandeis University, Boston, US (2016–2017). He is the recipient of several grants and awards including the J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship in Art History and the Humanities, and Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation, and Sharjah Art Foundation.

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