The christening. Moving image installation. 2mins 16secs. 2019

This is the pain in stillness and the peace in loneliness that can only exist under water. It is ocean filled lungs and saltwater eyes, an alternative pleasure. This is the feeling before the surface. It is the moment in time that comes before the solitude of being a part of the world.

 
“The christening” was inspired by a moment where I nearly drowned in a swimming pool full of my family members. In an attempt to swim over to them my foot got tangled in a pool divider, which subsequently flipped me upside down causing me to struggle to untangle myself as I attempted to reach for the surface to get someone’s attention. While underwater, I felt as though the world had left me and I was the only person that existed. For the first time I completely understood the solitude of existing and confirmed it once I reached the surface. I swam over to my family members to tell them what had happened but before I could, my sister looked at me and said “I forgot you were even here, where did you go? We didn’t even notice you were gone”

“Save me father for I have lived” is an installation piece that discusses the connection between loss, growth and suffering. It features the acts of the past foreshadowing, the future observing and the present fallings. With each traumatic occurrence we experience a new falling. Thus, a new part of ourselves is born.

The title of the work is a play on the catholic saying “Forgive me father for I have sinned” that is often said before a confession. This is said during confession as a plea for forgiveness while what is said in my title is a plea for comfort. Comfort from the weight of living life in a repetitious cycle of loss, suffering and growth.

Image1_Save me father for I have Lived-2.jpgSave me father for I have lived. 2019. Size variable. Moving image installation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Problem of the Negrophiliac. Moving image Installation, 6 channel video, muslin, black acrylic. 2019

 

Navigating my black body through assemblies of white filled spaces. Party lights distort the room, turning faces from shadow to light then back again, but my face remains shadow. Hands reached towards me, touching my hair, my face, my skin. Trying to take me a part and put me back together like I’m puzzle pieces they could ever understand. Comparing my skin to whatever brown foods they can think of, describing my own hair to me, turning my body into a performance for their enjoyment. But my body, my being, my existence is not performance, nor toy, nor food.

 

“The Problem of the Negrophiliac” is a video installation piece that combines music, spoken word and video to create an interactive and confrontational experience for the viewers. The piece uses voyeurism to express the forced performance/zoo-like approaches of and to black bodies in predominantly white social settings.

 

 

MotherTongue. Size variable. Moving image installation, 6 channel video, ceramic. 2018.

We exist in so many layers that our identities can never fully be unraveled. Language as one of these layers holds the fluidity necessary to capture the movements of these identities, through expansion and loss.

“MotherTongue” is an installation piece that uses video, sculpture, and light to create an immersive environment for the audience. The work deals with the disconnect caused by the loss and misunderstanding of language.

The mother tongue being the first language a person learns to speak can be said to be the language a person feels most honest in. This piece discusses the disassociation created between self and culture when a language is cut off from future generations as well as the languages of regret, loss and shame. As a Nigerian-American that has lost a part of my lingual identity because of assimilation, I created this work as a cathartic journey to healing.

English (the language that taught me regret, that I think in and feel in), Ibibio-Efik (the language I never had, that I feel the most loss in, that I long in, that I have removed from future generations), French (the language that follows me, that I used to hide my shame), and Spanish (the language that taught me how to feel and that revealed pain to me) are used as a pillars for the passage of my lingual identities.

 

Clips from all 6 screens in the order of:

  1. Story
  2. Efik song
  3. English song
  4. French song
  5. Spanish song
  6. My languages

Sweet Thing. 6ft x 6ft x 5.5ft, Plaster, Clay, Lace, Scrim, 2017

Cultural appropriation is destroying and erasing the identities of black women. Black women are somehow seen as both the taboo and the coveted, where we are berated for taking part in our culture and in the same instance are having this culture taken from us and reassigned as “trends” created by white media. This piece alludes to this act.

 

God is a black woman. 6ft x 8ft x 5ft, Mixed media, 2017
​You come from a state of unlove, a city of forgotten, a country of degradation. If you dare love yourself they wonder why, why you think you are worthy of love when no one else does. Feel the need to tell you you’re pretty for a dark girl. Deglorify and sexualize you at the same time. Knock you off the pillar you built yourself time and time again when no one else would hold you up. They kill you in your sleep, cut your hands after you give them help, ridicule youin public, disgrace your name, they hate you. All these things justified by the darkness of your skin. Your too strong, too manly, too independent, too outspoken, too full of life, too full of love for somebody that everyone else is ashamed to love. Do not wear yellow, do not go into the sun, do not do anything that makes the melanin in your skin noticeable. Do not ever love yourself out loud. Do not think highly of yourself, do not try to save your own life, do not get pulled over, do not go to sleep in your own bed, do not say no, do not play your music too loud, do not live too loud, do not suffer too loud, this will get you dead. Be invisible, in all your glory, be invisible. No one wants to see you. Blackbird, black  girl jesus, you should have known better. The mother, the child, and the holy ghost, you are not supposed to save yourself in this world, just supposed to die quietly with a mouth full of forgiveness, skin covered in bruises no one else can see, hands bound, eyes sown shut, silently. Your dark skin, your strong back, your thick hair, aunt sarah. Your fair skin, how they say fair skin, your long hair, saffronia, your tan skin, your wide hips, your sweet lips, sweet thing. Your brown skin, your loud laugh, your louder pain, peaches. The brown paper bag, the hot comb, the relaxer. You only have yourself.
There is a clear divide, a duality, a duplicity, an ambiguity. Black gold, black gold, burnt back, cut hands, black gold, all hail, all fail, bent spine, black gold. Crucified for speaking your truth, your black gold too bold. How painful it must be to love yourself. You, the giving tree. You, the holy. You, the very sun they teach you to hide from. they spit you out like poison because there own truth is too hard to swallow. your anger does not suit their taste buds, when your silent they say you enjoyed it, when you speak they label you a domestic terrorist. why you wanna fly anyways. theres not enough space here for your pain. stay in this box, stay right there. why you so mad?

Sorry Miss Baartman, Miss Bland, Miss Aiyana jones, Miss Henrietta Lacks, Miss Charleena Lyles, Miss Korryn Gaines, and many others.

Thank you Nina Simone, Solange Knowles, Amandla Stenberg, Janelle Monae, Carrie mae weems, Sade, Shayna Mchayle, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kara Walker, Simone Leigh, Willow Smith, Lorna Simpson, Patra, Erykah Badu, Ava Duvernay, Bell Hooks, ViolaDavis, Serena Williams, Bree Newsome, Iesha Evans, Uzo Aduba, Awaeke Emezi, Danielle Brooks, Eartha Kitt, Keri Shahidi, Brenda Fassie, Wangechi Mutu, Rihanna, Issa Rae, Michelle Obama, and many others.

 

 

Riot, 6″, Clay, Installation at University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2014.

 

The late 60s saw lots of riots about Vietnam and racial riots on college campuses. It is rumored that UMBC, in an attempt to protect itself, created these riot stairs to slow down any riots that may happen on the campus.  The stairs still remain on the campus and makes for awkward and at times comedic ascendence. This piece is a light hearted play on this.