roots, culture, identity virtual art exhibition, 2022

Roots, Culture, Identity Virtual Art Exhibition, 2022

It gives me great pleasure to share a virtual exhibition which I’m part of.

Running from May until August 2022, you have the opportunity to visit a virtual exhibition to coincide with the TUC Black Workers’ Conference, 2022.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the beginning of this exhibition which came out from one of the recommendations of the TUC Stephen Lawrence Task Group, the exhibition aims to provide an opportunity for Black, Asian and ethnic artists with a focus on young people, who are marginalised and face discrimination in the arts and culture sector, to showcase their work.

For years, I’m been meaning to submit my work for consideration, however due to other commitments, or not even having the finances in order to ship/ take my artwork down to Marble Hall of TUC Headquarters, London, I’ve never completed the application process.

However, with the pandemic offering a different way of working and exhibiting artwork, this year, due to an extended deadline, I was able to find the time and space to submit something.

The theme for this year’s exhibition is Collective Action for Race Equality. The
inspiration for the theme comes from the horrific impacts of racism we face today globally
from climate injustice to the disproportionate impact of contracting and dying from
coronavirus.

I submitted photography that I felt reflected my connection with nature as well as the work I carry out with Earth Sea Love; to offer opportunity for developing a deeper connection with nature for People of the Global Majority (PGM). I took Community/ Collective Healing as my focus and hope my images offer moments of tranquility and healing, grace and hope.

Yesterday she went down to the sea to feel again

Yesterday, she went down to the bay
and had it all to herself. Taking off her shoes, she sunk her toes into the cold
damp sand. What will the sea feel like? she thought.

She undressed before she could register the wind-chill. She ran into the blue.

The water, wind-ruffled, greeted her body with short sharp bites. Her skin turned red and goosebumped. One Mississippi, two Mississippi. She screamed out loud nudging herself to stay within the cold embrace for longer.

Her breaths were shallow as she ducked her whole body under water. She came up, gasped for air, water trickling from her head back to the source, dripping over her wide toothed smile.

fly upon the wind
white-grey gull of Spring take space
expand your great wings

Seaweed

Cresswell Beach

between their toes seaweed mushes
it comes out of nowhere
squeals and screams
wet, cold skin meets cold, wet skin,
pods pop, bones crack, the sea rolls in

Part 2 – Exploring Rituals To Be More Present in My Life, Never Mind Writing

A poem can start with the sound of water falling onto my body. Allow it’s curious wet teeth to sink into my flesh, to pull out chucks of questions to fuel a conversations with myself, later. 

The ability to be present was a luxury my mother never had as she worked 3 jobs with her hand down toilets and fixed smile for the men with keys and brutal laughs. 

I claim the ability to be present. To allow my yearning for a past to awaken a future I will imagine, as I salver my arms and legs and belly, housing a familiar homesickness I’m not sure where from, with coconut oil. 

Turning cold hard oil, soft and warm against my skin, I reconstruct fragments of history, lost in colluded archives, and turn them into bleeding scars and pickled memories of somethings rather than nothings.

When I’m ready to forgive and understand, I’ll conjure Dad back from the dead, sit him down, and ask why he never ever mentioned love, in all his administering of disciplined care. 

Dressed, hair twisted and walking across green fields, and under cherry blossom, I swallow doubts to turn a phase over and over against the roof of my mouth, rewriting with each footstep. Slide stepping cliches, kicking around experimental metaphors. 

Or the poem could hit me full force when I walk into the coffee shop. Glasses steamed, journal in hand,  eyes on drinks board, but already knowing my order by heart, the table I’ll take – number 13, my lucky number.

Acting like the fugitive from my life, here, I steal time to soften my gaze and repurpose the image of  the sea into an open window that will startle you, dear reader, into a new perspective, into a new way of holding your mind and your heart towards yourself.

Part 1 – Rituals

A poem can start with the sound of water
Falling onto my body
Allow it’s curious wet teeth to sink into my flesh
pulling out chucks of questions to fuel a conversations with myself later

The ability to be present was a luxury my mother never had as she worked 3 jobs with her hands down toilets and grinning at men with keys and brutal tongues

I claim the ability to be present
To allow my yearning for a past
To awaken a future
as I salver my arms and legs with cocoa butter.

Old Memories/ New Strategy

Old Boat/ New Money by Lubaina Himid

After Lubaina Himid

Worn timber, cowrie shells,
currency and shoreline,
you sound like waves
and the creaking hull of death.

I try to imagine, she said, what it would be like to be taken from all that I knew, moving in a stinking wooden vessel over something I knew not what to call but it swallows our bodies whole. See sea, sea see. Propped against a white wall to suggest a wave in motion, the angle of pleasure, as I witness it, from the other side, here and now, I rumble with displaced memories. Memories that traumatise but hold onto me like seeds buried within my hair, bearing into my flesh.

I couldn’t resist

The Serpentine, Kensington Gardens, London, 01 April, 2022, 17.42

I’ve really enjoyed sharing my love of water over this last month. And this isn’t the end of The Healing Properties of the Seas 2022 project.

Expect more 10 second videos to appear for the rest of the year and beyond.

These clips of seas will be posted on the blog first and then find their way to the portfolio page by and by.

A river takes it own sweet time to reach the sea. Slow and steady it goes. I’ll take my lead from the waters.