Anna Tjé

Queering African ancestrality through utopia archives: Family ties and healing in cheerful spaces.

The project “Queering African ancestrality through utopia archives: Family ties and healing in cheerful spaces” sets out to investigate the performative and cinematographic effects of struggles for emancipation, survival strategies derived from colonialism and immigration, as well as effects of healing and ancestrality in regard to Blackness and Queerness in France.
My research is an exploration of Queer time (Freeman, 2010) in relations to family ties within a decolonial context. I intend to use my own subjectivity to build my autobiography in order to proceed in the act of subverting time and space to build cheerful spaces where it becomes possible to initiate multidimensional  communication and healing with and amongst blood and chosen family.
I will examine a few sets of utopia archives, the first one being the writings/tales of Marie Tsad Tjad, pro-independentist activist and feminist activist in Cameroon and France during the 50’s, 60’s and onward. She was also my grandmother. Published in the anthology Cameroon, struggles for emancipation (Ngapeth-Biyong, 2009) this basis act as the common thread of the project, to tackle representations of family ties in relation to ancestral mythology. Other utopia archives I’ll be curating, analyzing and creating, will involve a family tree in order to pinpoint migration stories and paths, and the Club Culture centering Queer people of color in French-speaking countries.
Imagination, fiction literature, voice and poetry have been the foundation of my art practice. For this project, I intend on focusing on archive (Hartman, 1997) to discover untold and unknown stories and subjectivities, including both Blackness and/or Queerness. This will also allow me to question what is archive in relation to autobiography and past-present-future Erotic worlds. The project thereby confronts the historical material with following questions: How should we deal with our own immigrant stories that often hide long roads to freedom, and remain little known from the new generations? How should we deal with the ghosts of our ancestors? How could they give us tools to help us navigate oppressive contexts and at the same time, how can we tackle their absence through visual and (meta)physical or architectural representations? How are these scenes produced? How can we heal there?


Photo credit: The ancestress is back, Anna Tjé, 2014
Anna Tjé is a transdisciplinary artist-researcher and community organizer that works in the margins of Paris and who uses spirituality, speculative fiction and science fiction, to question the notions of intimacy, trauma, and resilience of the black womxn experience through voice, performance, video, installation, mythology and poetry. 
Anna Tjé creates immersive spaces that deconstruct the survival mechanisms of healing in subcultures and interrogates the social constructions of past-present-future space and time in relation to various forms of queer eroticism, family ties, and narratives. Pulling from her personal archive – often-time using her Cameroonian cultural heritage and the country’s landscapes – and from the works of black womxn feminists and queer activists and theorists, she experiments on the idea of vectors of emancipation and interconnectivity. She thus organizes cheerful spaces and creative writing workshops with Atayé, an art collective and online magazine she co-founded in 2016, that focuses on Cultures, Social Justice and the Future.
Anna Tjé studied at the Mod’Art International Paris Fashion School before exploring Media as a graduate of a Masters in publishing and communications from the University of Cergy.
IG: @annathesupernova
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