Johny Pitts explores Afro-European identity in his book Afropean: Notes from Black Europe, in which he travels the continent searching for black identities and what connects them.
CROSSING BORDER ANTWERP 4 + 6 NOV 2022
“The idea that a black person travels through Europe is radical for many people,” wrote writer, photographer and television journalist Johnny Pitts this year in Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.
Pitts grew up in the British city of Sheffield to a black father and white mother. In 2013 he travelled across Europe, hoping to discover what it meant to be a Black European. With a camera and notebook, he sifted through fragmented identities in search of black voices and an Afro-European identity.
The journey started in his hometown and took him to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Stockholm, Moscow, Marseille, Rome and Lisbon. Everywhere he met Europeans with African roots who forged new identities. His book Afropean is an impressive account of that search for what connects black Europeans.
“At the end of my journey, I felt optimistic, on a personal level,” he told an interviewer. “I have woven a foundation for my life. I saw Europe through different eyes, and I hope readers can too.”