will you remember to keep us afloat?


rongin shagor রঙিন সাগর translated from Bengali means something like “multicolored ocean” – the ocean as a carrier of memories: How our bodies are carriers of memories, which puts us in direct relation to bodies of water. “Will you remember to keep us afloat?” – in turn poses a question to the ocean that gives and takes, creating a parallel to how and who shapes memory in our world.

Who stays afloat and is reminded that they stays afloat?
Who will be swallowed up by the tides and forgotten?

Starting with a poem by Afro-German poet May Ayim, rongin  shagor reflects on cultures of memory by exploring the reflective and generative threads of cultural formations located in the senses of the oppressed body. Tracing and reweaving these threads is the ceaseless task of cultures exposed to colonialism. Collective memory emerges from language, and patterns of collective memory influence language as socially and culturally shared narrative genres. The project attempts to create a constellation of memory by weaving together cultural responses and transnational dialogue.


This multimodal space creates a break between voice and silence, the oral and the visual, and is an attempt to ensure the survival of sensory cultures in today's world. In the form of a virtual artistic chain letter, “rongin shagor” explores the concept of heritage by engaging others in the discourse of how our history shapes our actions today. A series of multidisciplinary and multilingual artists have responded to the poem “Community” by May Ayim, a progressive thinker and  key figure that shaped the Afro-German movement.

"rongin shagor - the multicolored ocean" symbolizes the variety of poetic and artistic interpretations and inspirations that emerge from a poem. They drift, embark, collide, and stay afloat - all in the same place, each marking the beginnings of different struggles in identity politics. Dreams, visions and associative imagination of poetry are reinforced by a collective growth of individual, sequential works of art - beginning with the aforementioned poem by May Ayim. The reactions of interdisciplinary artists to this work have shaped “rongin shagor” and invite others to participate.

The erasure caused by the colonial era - with the parallel narrative of the pandemic - challenges us to confront the realities of loss: loss of connection, loss of oral tradition, loss of ritual, loss of loved ones, loss of the physical touch, loss of justice. Amid all this loss, there is a need to create a common space in which to make visible and audible the challenges faced by the various diaspora communities in Berlin and beyond. This participatory online project will seek to create a hub of knowledge through art and make it accessible to a wider community to engage in the discourses over time.

A primarily digital project with manifestations in physical space, “rongin shagor” addresses the interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized by exploring issues of identity, language, representation, displacement, migration, resistance and agency.



Concept: Madhumita Nandi
Curation: Madhumita Nandi and Anja Saleh
Curatorial Assistant: Melisa Manrique Oyola
Communication: Tariq Bajwa
Visual Identity: Chhandak Pradhan
UX Designer: Mark Mushiva, Rita Eperjesi
Webdesign: Rita Eperjesi, Zainab Tariq and Anna Eschenbacher
Webdevelopment: Zainab Tariq, Anna Eschenbacher with the help of Ellina Nurmukhametova, Árpád Bencze, Malte Hillebrand, Anna Brauwers
Grantwriter: Sophia Schmidt, Paul Räther and Nina Martin

The project rongin shagor is developed by Oyoun within the framework of "dive in. Program for Digital Interactions" of the Federal Cultural Foundation, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) in the NEUSTART KULTUR program and the Senate of Berlin’s Department for Culture and Europe.