It made me cry. 2020. Moving image. 2minutes 36seconds
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.
Save 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:
- Efik song
- English song
- French song
- Spanish song
- 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.
Sorry Miss Baartman, Miss Bland, Miss Aiyana jones, Miss Henrietta Lacks, Miss Charleena Lyles, Miss Korryn Gaines, 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.