Creative space for young women ‘Palace of the Lioness’ opened by Bonn women

Bonn · Lorena Spülbeck from Bonn opened the ‘Palace of the Lioness’ with her fellow art champions on Sunday. The young women are interested in encouraging like-minded people to become more active in the arts.

 Lionesses together: Lorena dos Santos Spülbeck, Sarah Alexandre de Almeida with daughter Soraya and Bakış Demir (from left.

Lionesses together: Lorena dos Santos Spülbeck, Sarah Alexandre de Almeida with daughter Soraya and Bakış Demir (from left.

Foto: Thomas Kölsch

Self-confidence is a precious commodity, especially in the current circumstances - and something Lorena Spülbeck obviously does not lack. ‘Palast der Löwin’ (Palace of the Lioness) is the name she has given to her creative space close to the Bonn University Library, which she and her fellow campaigners opened on Sunday. And at least in terms of potential, it should live up to this ostentatious title. Spülbeck wants to make sure of this. She is certainly enthusiastic as she talks about her plans. “I love producing art in a community,” she says, “and I know a lot of other women feel the same way. Unfortunately, however, there is a lack of places in Bonn where you can try things out. We want to change this with the Palace of the Lioness.”

The idea was born in November 2018 as the product of an initiative by 35 women with African roots. “Women need a different kind of space to men,” says Spülbeck. “As a rule, we are more communicative and sociable, want to support each other and are less interested in competition. So here at the Palace, it's about positively empowering emerging female artists of all kinds and celebrating each other for all our achievements.”

Opening repeatedly postponed by the pandemic

Even if space is limited: The lionesses' domicile consists of an L-shaped room with a bar in the middle. The shop window contains some drums and there is a children's corner in the back. The scent of incense wafts through the air, gathering beneath the raffia lamps and in front of the paintings by Berlin artist Melody La Verne Bettencourt. “We wanted to finally celebrate our opening with this small exhibition on resistance in art,” says Spülbeck. “We had been planning to do this for a year, but we kept postponing the date due to the pandemic. Even now, we are unfortunately only able to get going digitally, but we just didn't want to wait any longer. We hope that we will soon be able to welcome new lionesses in person when the restrictions are lifted.” So far, the hard core consists of five women, 15 more would be part of the extended circle. “We are happy about anyone who wants to join us,” says Spülbeck. “Men are of course welcome too, but first and foremost we want to serve as a creative meeting place for young women.”

The offer currently covers four areas: Afro dance, visual art, music and entrepreneurship. “I have personally always been keen on video productions because they bring together many different sectors of art - make-up artists, costume designers and so on,” explains Spülbeck. “But we are open to other projects too. If a woman wants to design fashion or produce podcasts, we are happy to support her as best we can.” Workshops for aspiring female DJs or rappers are also being planned. In addition, the Palace of the Lioness can also be rented out by other groups. Further information is available online here.

(Original text: Thomas Kölsch, Translation: Caroline Kusch)

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