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Darling of the Month: Avana Ranaivoson and „Sob a Terra Do Encoberto“

1. July 2022

Avana has been with us for just about a month, but he already has a lot to tell you: this month we introduce you to the current intern in press and public relations. At the same time, he shows us his SMU darling, and the object that Avana choose probably won’t leave a dry eye in the house.

“I would like to gift my darling to my parents. They don’t quite understand what and who I am, and I think it could be a useful tool for them to better comprehend.”

Introduce yourself in three short sentences: where are you from, what do you do, what’s on your mind?

Hi. I’m Avana, 19 years old, and the press and public relations intern for this summer. The internship is part of my degree programme and is to be done abroad. I am studying French-German Studies. It’s about the relations between the two countries but also about German politics, society, economy and so on. I’m particularly interested in the situation of queer people in countries other than France. So I thought: Why not Berlin? Why not the Schwules Museum? That’s why I’m here now!

How exactly did you come across the Schwules Museum?

It was actually really random: I was looking for museums in Berlin until I read “The Schwules Museum”. Then I thought to myself: have I missed something?! Of course I had to click on it immediately. Even though it’s a bit of a shame, I must admit it: I didn’t know the museum before.

I guess both sides were lucky. What are your favourite activities at the museum?

Before that, I worked in communications with various associations. That’s why I already know about writing texts and Instagram, but many press activities are new to me: generating content for social media, community management, taking care of the monthly newsletter. I’m really enjoying it! One thing I’ve learnt is how much rewriting work is also involved (laughs), that’s one of those things. I think my favourite thing is dealing with the designs for our online presences. That way I can contribute to the creation of the Schwules Museum’s image.

What has been your best day at SMU so far?

The very first day, that was so nice! There was a breakfast with the whole team, where I got to meet everyone right away. And there was also a lot of vegan food; I love the vegan food substitutes in Germany (laughs). That morning I also went straight to the Encantadas and Ocaña exhibitions, which made a big impression on me at the beginning. The day was really intense, there were a lot of information, but not at all in a negative sense.

So let’s move on to your darling: What is it?

As I said, first day at the museum, busy day. So I walk into the exhibition “Encantadas: Transcendental Art from Brazil”, somehow not expecting anything special, but something very special was waiting for me: the documentary film “Sob a Terra Do Encoberto”, or “Under the Land of the Hidden” by Libra and Xan Marçall. It totally touched me, because I always have the feeling that I don’t know enough stories by, for and about trans people. And then I got to see these strong people who live their lives the way it is portrayed in the film… I also know very little about Brazil, so this was a great opportunity to immerse myself in the country. The film is actually quite long, but the time just flew by while watching it.

Why do you think you felt such a connection to the documentary?

Well, hum: Hi trans people, I am also part of the community (laughs)! I recently found out that I’m trans, so I’m always looking for stories from people who have similar experiences. I’m sure that’s why I felt it so strongly. Since I live in France, and Black people don’t make up the majority there, I was able to allow the film to be a little closer to me again with its representations. I would love to see more representation in my own country. That would be really cool.

You said that so beautifully! Can you find three more words that describe your darling?

Frappant (striking), émouvant (moving), fascinant (fascinating)!

If you could give your darling as a gift, who would it go to?

I would like to gift my darling to my parents. They don’t quite understand what and who I am, and I think it could be a useful tool for them to better comprehend. My mother and I actually enjoy going often to the cinema. This would be a good fit and I’m sure she would like it.