Darling, Don't Turn Your Back On Me
Multidisciplinary piece presented through text, video-performance and gallery installation
RHA Gallery, Dublin, 2021
Text with notes from: Lino Bento, Nikki Moore, Jean-Pierre Ntezilyayo
Photograph Director and Editor: Cristiane Schmidt
Voices: Lino Bento, Kevin Raheem, Ellen Ballard, Maholin Navarro, Nikki Moore, Reeta Cherie,
Larissa Nascimento, Cintia Augusta, Priscila Altivo, Jean-Pierre Ntezilyayo, Maria Mirza, Tatiana Santos, Zaïre, Pontso Mabuza, Vitor Hugo Silvestre, Thaís Muniz
I created Darling, Don't Turn Your Back on Me to deliver the experience of what it feels like to encounter the gaze of others as a welcome, or a statement of symbolic violence, and how it impacts people's who are outside their original cultures.
It's a multi-disciplinary piece that connects old and new aspects of my practice to create visual storytelling through installation, sound-recording, writing and performance. I wrote the poem and shared it with another 13 people from the Black & Brown community in Ireland, so they could complete the poem with their own words, based on their own experiences. The intention of welcoming the voices of others who share my experiences into the performance was to create a multi-layered form of dialogue using day-by-day communication tools, such as WhatsApp voice notes.
This performance creates the dual vantage points of both looking upon, and being looked upon. Visual metaphors of concave and convex lenses to illustrate two ambivalent world views, likening the experience, for people in new environments, of what it is like to be perceived. Somewhere in-between, both literally and figuratively, is the term ‘Reconvex’; popularised by Bahian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso (Reconvexo), which describes a person who can think about subjectivity relationally and feed on other cultures, whilst being at the same time conscious and proud of one’s ancestry and tradition.
For the installation in the gallery, I wanted to create and enact protection rituals made with circles of protection, as a shield from harmful forces or as a meditative act to create a particular state of mind. The circles were composed of elements that brought a statement of physical and spiritual protection. Sea salt, plants and its roots, books, family and friend photos, and a snake, a sacred animal that is part of my Yoruba spirituality belief.
The printed textile I worked on in the installation is called Darling, Don’t Turn Your Back On Me – a popular and traditional Ankara fabric, and it reflected the reconvex shape that would contain in itself both concave and convex forms, as well a great analogy to name the piece.
Special thanks to: Angelica Network, Andrea Berteli, Pablo Santos, Mick T-Woc, Jessika Reis, Johnny Batista, Tadhg Byrne, Stéphane Hanly, Brendan Maher, Luis Noguera, Lino Bento, Renata Martins