The June Givanni PanAfrican Cinema Archive (JGPACA) holds a unique collection of artefacts and archival material, which has at its core the interest of PanAfrican cinema and its relationship with Black British cinema and culture. Over a period of seven weeks, the exhibition at Raven Row will reveal histories and ideas in African and African diasporic film, recalling significant events and bringing together the work of filmmakers around a wide range of themes, debates and interests.
The exhibition is structured around a programme of feature films, shorts, documentaries and television programmes by celebrated filmmakers including Timité Bassori, Safi Faye, Gaston Kaboré, Sarah Maldoror, Djibril Diop Mambéty and Ousmane Sembène, and is complemented by a series of intergenerational panel discussions bringing together local and international practitioners. A pop-up archive and reading room within the exhibition will enable direct public engagement with the collection.
JGPACA has been established as a ‘living’ archive, evolving around the work of film curator and archivist June Givanni, who has been collating and sharing this material since the 1980s. A key figure in the Black British Independent Cinema movement, she was involved in the landmark Third Eye Festival of Third World Cinema with the Greater London Council in 1983, later establishing the African Caribbean Film Unit at the British Film Institute (BFI) in 1992. At the BFI, she also co-initiated the Black Film Bulletin and played a key role in the historic Africa ’95 conference at London’s Southbank Centre, to mark the presence of African filmmaking in the centenary of cinema.
To date, JGPACA holds more than 10,000 items – including over 700 feature films, television programmes, short films and documentaries, as well as audio recordings, photographs, posters, manuscripts, magazines and books and documents – connecting African film with the film cultures of diaspora communities in the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe.
PerAnkh, an ancient Egyptian term referring to knowledge centres, is a title intended to reinforce the essence of the archive and this exhibition, curated by June Givanni, with Awa Konaté.
All images courtesy Raven Row, London