The return of the Hummingbird women
The film takes as a starting point the famous Artist and writers conference from 1956 which took place in the Sorbonne in Paris. This conference was organized entirely by Black women, but no women got the podium
As an honorary member, Josephine Baker was mostly formally involved with the Congress, which certainly had political significance. Christiane Yandé Diop, wife of Alioune Diop (founder of the famous bookstore Présence Africaine) was one of the organizers. She is 97 years old and her voice is present in the film.
Black women were at the forefront of an international network of solidarity between Africans and people of the African diaspora. The sisters Jeanne and Paulette Nardal played an important role in the creation of Négritude, a French literary and ideological movement from the 1930s. Members of the movement felt united by their common origins and aversion to the racism in the French colonial empire . Paulette Nardal who mastered English well, became an important cultural intermediary between the Anglophone Harlem Renaissance writers and the Francophone students from Africa and the Caribbean. Three of them would later become the founders of the Négritude movement: Aimé Césaire from Martinique, Léopold Sédar Senghor from Senegal, and Léon -Gontran Damas from French Guiana (les Trois Pères ) . Paul Hazoumé , also known as the father of African literature, is less well known, but also involved in founding of the movement.
In 2019 I visited Frida Kahlo's house in Mexico. There I discovered that Kahlo was friends with artist and surrealist André Breton. Kahlo traveled to Paris and stayed with the Bretons. Susanne Césaire was a supporter of Surrealism and also befriended with Breton . Who in turn was solidair with the anti-colonial struggle. And although I have not (yet) found evidence that the women have met each other I decided to create a fictive encounter, along with Jeanne and Paulette Nardal and Josephine Baker. This fictitious meeting took place in Paris in a building by Dudok, which in terms of architecture completely fits into that zeitgeist. And where the murals refer to Dutch colonialism. The film contains references to paintings by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and surrealism. Césaire's poem is recited by Jean Casimir, former Haitian ambassador in the USA. The film not only criticizes patriarchy, but also the European colonial modernity project.