(Video and Text bathtub instillation)

This artwork uses the motif of ritual performances to explore nuances in gender, generation, and sexuality. My curiosity with rituals started with a personal interest in historical (herstorical rather) narratives that rooted from personal stories of my mother’s, grandmothers’, and great grandmother’s generation of hardship due to discriminatory social, economic, and political systems. They used cultural and spiritual ritual and performances such as rites of passage—birth, marriage, death, etc. as mediums for molding, resisting and subverting the status quo. One can easily look for clues in ritual performances, where factors such as class, generation, gender construction and other identity formations are inscribed and demonstrated.

PART III: NANKONDO is created in collaboration with my mother, who creates text responses to my visuals. Intergenerational conversations have become an important element to my work. In this work, we explore African spirituality, following a story of my great grandmother, Nankondo, whose mother disappeared a long time a go, and she is believed to have been captured and taken into slavery. The religion fanatics in her village believed that she is to blame for her own capture, her being a woman of ‘low morals’ due to the fact that she used to sell beer to men until late hours. The work exists as an instillation, a shrine created for Nankondo, consisting of a video taken during a night prayer session, accompanied by a letter written to and in conversation with Nankondo, by my mother, projected on a bathtub filled with water and surrounded by lit candles. The work as a whole tries to make sense of the self-loath and spiritual abyss as displayed by modern day religion.