Encounter: Poetic Resonnation and emotional resilience, with Azad Mohamad, Karessa Malaya Ramosand Nelden Djakaba, as part of Tea Oval Session, organized by Zoncy Heavenly.

Date: Thursday, July 25th
Time: 19:00 – 21:00

In the previous session, Venezuelan artist and activist Augusto Gerardi reflected on his new life in a refugee camp in Germany during the Covid-19 restriction. This mode of artistic self-reflection extends  to the third Tea Oval session on trauma and activism through poetic remedy based on the human flows of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar in 2017 and labor migration in the Philippines since 1974. Beginning with  the poetry of Azad, for whom writing poetry is a form of archiving daily conversations in Cox Bazar, the world’s largest refugee camp, on false and elite qualities of the words hope and freedom, the session will then paddle along the playground of words of Filipino poet and anti-racial activist Karessa Malaya Ramos, who is based in Madrid, Spain. Nelden Djakaba, an Indonesian-Filipino fictional writer and psychologist based in Berlin specialising in recovery from collective and intergenerational trauma through artistic resilience, will facilitate the session, reflecting on her younger self growing up in Suharto’s regime.

Zoncy Heavenly, the host of the Tea Oval session, invites trauma-informed practitioners Azad Mohamad, Karessa Malaya Ramosand Nelden Djakaba, who are passionate about artistic resilience, to co-create the session to co-facilitate the session to further the understanding of artistic resilience in an interactive experience. Heavenly is leading the Tea Oval sessions until November 2024 as an artist in residence at TIER.

The Tea Oval Sessions is not a passive event but a dynamic monthly forum. As an audience member, your role is crucial. You are not just a spectator but an active participant in studying and exploring new and emerging perspectives on artistic resistance against political dictatorships worldwide. The invited contributors and participants will analyse the most successful artistic tactics used in political reimagination. By the end of the sessions, the contributions and collective findings will be co-authored as a manual for Myanmar artists to exercise political imagination.


Zoncy Heavenly started her career as a performance artist in 2009 by participating in Japan’s Nippon International Performance Art Festival. Inspired by knowledge from different fields, she later worked with sound, photography, installation, and poetry to explore the intangible aspects of body-based art and the concrete impact of collective trauma with a phenomenological approach. Born in 1987 in southern Myanmar, Zoncy has lived, worked, and studied in Yangon. She graduated from the University of Computer Studies in 2008 and joined the postmodern and Performance art classes at New Zero Art Space in Yangon. Since 2011, she has been involved in the anti-civil war movement and gained more awareness about gendered violence in the Myanmar civil war. She co-founded the Diverze Youth Art Platform to promote minority rights and culture through the arts. The platform is a network of artistic self-empowerment in a country that ranks between Afghanistan and North Korea, according to the Democracy Index. One of her most significant contributions is the feminist performance series, Unknown Women. She was the design fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude in 2019 and the visual art fellow of the DAAD Artist in Berlin Program in 2022. In 2024, she will conduct an independent study on artists’ methods in political (re)imagination with the support of TIER in Berlin as a Weltoffenes Berlin Program fellow.

Karessa Malaya is a talented writer and photographer in Madrid, Spain. Her creative journey is genuinely captivating, marked by the recent release of her works, such as ”Sitsiritsit” (La Parcería Edita, 2023) and ”Cosechas del insomnio” (Diversidad Literaria, 2021). She also completed the ”Wakiña” Artistic Residency program at La Parcería, CEDA, showcasing her project ”Babaylan” (2023) and is currently engrossed in her latest endeavor: ”V.O.S. – Versión Original Subtitulado.” All this while balancing her thriving career with the responsibilities of being a loving mother to her son, Leo, and being miles away from her homeland’s magnificent volcanoes and seas.

Maria Nelden Gericke is a talented fiction writer and a trained psychologist from Indonesia who pursued an advanced master’s degree in Cultures and Development Studies in Belgium. With extensive experience in trauma recovery and community-based psychological intervention in Indonesia, Nelden further enriched her knowledge through a research fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School. Eventually, Nelden and her family moved to Vilnius, Lithuania, and Berlin. She adeptly combines her passions for jewelry crafting, psychology, trauma work, and writing by conducting workshops alongside her mental health work. In addition, she contributes as a freelance writer for Tempo magazine in Indonesia. She plays a vital role in the core editorial team for the upcoming edition of Südostasien, an online magazine based in Cologne focusing on current issues in Southeast Asia.

Azad Mohammad, born and raised in Arakan State, Myanmar, faced numerous challenges in pursuing his educational aspirations due to the government restrictions on Rohingya youths in Myanmar. Despite this, Azad bravely fled to India to continue his studies. However, he faced further obstacles due to a need for identity documents. Nonetheless, Azad’s passion for photography and poetry never waned. His poems are discussed in P.E.N. Melbourne Magazine and other anthologies, including ‘I am a Rohingya: poetry from the Camps and Beyond,’ the first English-language anthology of poetry written by Rohingya poets. His photography is exhibited at UN Geneva and Galerie Clairefontaine in Luxembourg. Since 2019, Azad has been living in Germany, successfully balancing his career as a Sushi Master at his own Sushi Kiosk while pursuing his artistic passions.

No RSVP required

Event held onsite: Donaustr. 84, 12043 Berlin