I get it though…
Black people struggle to confidently be different in predominantly White spaces.
Doing what I did, literally on foreign white shores, can seem brazen.
But like… come on.
It’s not that deep.
Becoming a performance artist, I never thought much of it.
I didn’t think it was a HUGE deal and I sure as hell didn’t think I would become the next Marina Abramovic. But I knew that I would love it, and so when the chance came at Liverpool John Moores I took it with a running exuberance. I wasn’t going to let this pass me by.
My first ever short performance film, which was later screened at OUTPUT’s group show, was made towards the end of my 1st year of University. I was young, nubile, and completely unaware as to what would follow shortly after the creation of this film.
Innocence bordering on naivety, which many would be mean enough to call just plain stupidity.
I was naked, from the waist up. Starting off fully clothed and then slowly transitioning to nudity, moving to when I was embracing the blue body paint. The Beautiful Blue, as it were.
The Blue was a part of my madness and my sanity. It was the God and the Devil that sailors see when they are away at Sea. It was the sweet loving Sirens and the trifling double-crossing mermaids.
The Blue was the ecstasy of a selfish orgasm, stimulated by an illicit lover – the hushes of our love creating foam, that would make even the seaside blush.
The Blue was the insanity of a zombie, being brainwashed. It was religion and spirituality, and everything and none of the above.
The Blue was Yorubaland consuming me, and its histories pushing through onto the surface of me.
The Blue was Olokun finding me and warning Sango of me.
The Blue was me before I was able to truly know what it meant to be free.
The Blue was more than Yves Klein. Stalking in me on dreams of Grecian blue busts, mattified and staid – so true it was distrusting.
The Blue told me of the secret language of patterns and symbols, not just of the Yoruba people, but of the Persians and Chinese too.
The Blue rung and rang through me, like the loudest bells announcing The Next Coming.
And I had come.
I was saving myself with this work.
And yet all some saw was bare breasts and a much too open-minded Black girl… and to an extent they were right. I was naïve at my own power and my own might, believing my naked body to have far too little power at all.
Perpetuating the hate, the colonial history, and this forever feeling of being in a menagerie.
But deep down, I forget people have opinions.
I do not rate humans as highly as they believe I do.
But the rhythm of spirit and life that pulses through our existence; pulsating through every atom and particle. Reflecting everything, like an untouched rhythmic pond.
The Waters of Life.
The Highest Opinion.
THAT is what controlled my soul the day that I birthed Beautiful Blue.
Guiding my love of life, dance, movement and performance ever since.
Giving way to the Red, to the Yellow and even the mundane…
So to all those who used it as sexual gratification, who lied to me and misused and mocked my footage – my praise and my worship. It is not a curse from my mouth that you should fear, but the curse of your mind that cannot cease to be controlled by the vapid chains of the hegemonic presences in your life.
I do not want to be bitter and angry, because the work deserves more love and respect than this –
“I” deserve more love and respect than this. Than that, and this work shall live beyond and well after them.