Installation | Video | Performance | Talks | Jazz

The Pinguin Bar – African Resilience and Presence

Act 1: Black Jazz, post crises!
Re-enactement by Alibeta

A still deserted, tidy bar with many plants and wall decorations. In the front on the left: a counter with bar stools. On the right: tables with place settings. An opening to the next room reveals instruments waiting for the band.

Pinguin Bar © Die Pinguin Bar, Berlin (1949) Privatsammlung Robbie Aitken / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

After more than 70 years, the Senegalese artist Alibeta re-enacts the “Pinguin Bar”, which was the place for jazz, resistance and activism of the Black community in Berlin around 1949.

In 1949, the “Pinguin Bar” opened its doors at Bülowstraße 6 in Berlin-Schöneberg. Conceptualised and run exclusively by people from African countries, it plays a conflicted role in the city’s history of Black lives. On the one hand, it was a meeting point by and for African artists and activists, for jazz and performance as well as a meeting point for performative Arts, resistance and memories for the Black community who had survived the war and the Shoah. On the other hand, the Pinguin Bar, an idea from Kala Kinger from Cameroon, was financed and advertised by a white married couple called Gruß and Hans von Hellfeld. It was also a space where racist continuities and exoticising fantasies of the white mainstream society could be upheld and which was based on the de-humanising colonial heritage of the Africa-shows and “Völkerschauen”, folkloristic ethnological displays. In 1951 the authorities closed the very successful bar, pretexting tax reasons.

For “Performing Exiles”, the Senegalese curator and multidisciplinary artist, Alibeta, will re-enact the “Pinguin Bar” with a programme featuring concerts, film screenings and performances to open a bigger conversation and to address the issue of African traces and presence in Germany today. This first act of an upcoming series is connecting the origin of the bar to the current situation of the Black community in Berlin – as a story of jazz, as a music of traces and healing of the African community.


Thursday 15.6.

23:30 – 02:00
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Kassenhalle
Theatre performance and live music by Pinguin Bar Jazz Band with Alibeta and Ibaaku

Friday 16.6.

22:30 – 00:00
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Kassenhalle
Active memories - Living memories
Talk and live music by Alibeta + Ibaaku
Guests: Ibou diop & others

Saturday 17.6.

20:30 – 22:30
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Kassenhalle
A Movie by Alibeta
Film Screening, in English

Afterwards party

Wednesday 21.6.

21:30 – 00:00
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Kassenhalle
Sonic Archives of the future
Immersive Sonic experimental night
Concert: Dumama + Ibaaku

Thursday 22.6.

21:30 – 23:00
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Kassenhalle
Radio Resistance
Conversation around a radio installation + DJ Set

Friday 23.6.

22:30 – 02:00
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Kassenhalle
Fashion Geew
Fashion show + DJ Set
With Sahgal, Doulsy A.D. Deertz und Beatrace angut oala and others

Sunday 25.6.

21:30 – 02:00
Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Kassenhalle
PINGUIN BAR open mic Jam Session and Closing Party


KENU – The laboratory of Imaginaries of Senegal, Afro Diaspora activists and researchers in Berlin

“The Pinguin Bar – African Resilience and Presence” is part of the festival “Performing Exiles” by Berliner Festspiele.