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Migrant Cinema and Writing in Post-colonial Italy

Ribka Sibhatu

Ribka Sibhatu

Kaha Mohamed Aden

Kaha Mohamed Aden

Simone Brioni

Simone Brioni

This project focuses on different aspects of Italian contemporary literature and culture such as migration, post-coloniality, orality, diaspora, ethnicity, multiculturalism, nationhood and subalternity. Writers Ribka Sibhatu and Kaha Mohamed Aden will present at the University of Warwick their literary work as well as the documentaries, in which they tell of the legacy of Italian colonialism and their migratory experience to Italy, respectively from Eritrea and Somalia. The discussion of social and historical themes and questions in post-colonial Italian literature, is helpful in order to determine how the amnesia over the colonial past in Italy influences the mis-representation of immigrants.

This event does not only involve specific didactic seminar for students of Italian, but also a research symposium, documentary screenings and discussions, which will involve students of history, literature, sociology and film studies. By engaging with a multidisciplinary perspective, the close examination of specific cases of postcolonial cultural interaction is aimed to present the transnational dimension of contemporary Italy.

Ribka Sibhatu is a poet from Eritrea who writes in Italian and Tigrinya. She was born in Asmara, Eritrea, in 1962. She was imprisoned for a year in 1979 and then fled the country in 1980. Travelling first to Ethiopia and then to France, Ribka Sibhatu moved to Italy in 1996 and settled in Rome, where she has lived ever since. She holds a Ph. D in communication studies from Rome's La Sapienza. Ribka Sibhatu's first published work was Aulò! Canto Poesia dall'Eritrea (Sinnos, 1993), a collection of lyrics and prose poems originally written in Tigrinya and translated by the author into Italian. This bilingual meditation on her past life in Eritrea and subsequent experience as a migrant was followed in 1999 by Il Cittadino che non c'è. L'immigrazione nei media Italiani (EdUP): a sociological look at the Italian media's coverage of immigrant communities. Ribka Sibhatu speaks five languages.

Kaha Mohamed Aden was born in Mogadishu (Somalia). She graduated in economics at the University of Pavia and took her Master degree at the European School for Advanced Studies in Co-operation and Development-IUSS in Pavia (Italy). At the moment she is involved in the field of immigration and intercultural understanding including numerous conferences, seminars and roundtables throughout Italy. In September 2010, the first collection of her short stories, Fra-intendimenti, was published by Nottetempo, Rome. She also made the oral performances ‘Mettiti nei miei panni’, ‘La valigia della Zia’, ‘Specchio specchio delle mie brame chi è più abile nel reame?’ and ‘La Quarta Via’.

Simone Brioni is a Phd student in Italian and his research focuses on the literary works of Italian writers with Somali origins. He has directed the documentaries La Quarta Via (IT, 2009) and Aulò (IT, 2011) and is the curator of the festival ‘Oltre(il)mar(gin)e’ in Brescia (Italy), which focuses on Italian migrant writings.