During week 2 we had visits from other creatives, who also happen to be our off-spring and friends! My youngest daughter Buki who is a musician and art gallery apprentice, my niece Ayo who is a music journalist and travel blogger, with one of her close friends Fay who is a textile designer accompanied with her 2yr old son Finlay! I will add in some quotes from the feedback they gave about their stay during the residency. I enjoyed their presence along with the energy and different perspective they all brought to situations. My niece particularly inspired me to be more confident with my driving which was exacerbated by my anxiety and need for safety. It was OK that I was nervous, it was ok to take a bend in the wrong gear and even regular drivers also make those mistakes.

During week 2, I put in place a daily routine of chanting and tapping to alleviate the negative mental chatter and overwhelm I was experiencing. I began to feel more settled, grounded and safer in the space and as a result, found myself opening up to respond more fluidly with what I experienced around me.

Week 2’s guests thoughts on ‘play’:

BUKI: I’m upset i couldn’t stay a bit longer and explore a bit more, but there’s always another day, another time. As we get older we lose what it means to play. It’s also about learning and discovering things about yourself as well. I think it’s great that you [Ekua & Folami] are taking time out to, to play. Which i think a lot of people, they go on holiday and stuff, but its not the same.

FAY: new and interesting; slightly challenging in some ways being closer to nature than usual but the views are amazing – inspiring i guess, because it shows you different things; its inspiring to hear why they [Ekua & Folami] come here in such a secluded spot to find a new ‘breath’ in their art journey; Findlay’s loved the outdoors and getting dirty. Yes, its been a really good experience!

FINLAY: Cheese!

AYO: Play is doing something you enjoy and having fun. As a child it was playing with my Barbies. Now it is going out having a laugh with friends, having a bit of time off, not worrying about the time. Work can be play if you get the right job, so that’s the aim. I’m creating a life with more time to play! I find being creative playful, doing art playful.

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Mumzy and Buki hanging out by the beach in the town of Mogan
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The sky brought a beautiful sunset every day. It was like being surprised with a gift by a lover every evening!
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‘Reclaiming My Being’ selfie photoshoot. My body, self-made banana leaf and my muse, dead aloe.
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‘Reclaiming My Being’ selfie photoshoot. I was having THIS MUCH fun! 😀
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‘Reclaiming My Being’ selfie photoshoot. My body and self-made banana leaf rope.

This 3hr ‘Reclaiming My Being’ photoshoot had a profound effect on me and my relationship to my body, which has changed in size and functionality after 2 years of physical illnesses (partially dislocated hip then virus infection leaving me with permanently swollen feet, some of which has reduced only after 2 years), mental burn-out and emotional shit-storms. I spent the time alone with my Canon 1300D and tripod playing with my muse and self-made banana rope. As a naturist, I have always been comfortable in only my own skin and do not mind the intrusive curious gaze of others. Yet stripping myself bare in all my vulnerability at a time in my life when I am at my most vulnerable physically, mentally and emotionally is very significant to me. As an agendered person I have always struggled with how I ‘should’ look, how my body ‘should’ function in order to be accepted in the life the world said I must lead (as a woman) and I desperately wanted to feel accepted in because I knew of no alternative. I was never comfortable. I was never satisfied with myself due to the tension and conflict this brought to my sense of self. I had no words to describe the torture of this until I opened up to my queer non binary friends. Its not body dysphoria because my body is not the problem. How it is gendered, categorised and policed by my culture and wider society is the problem. I am learning to love how I have become, visible and invisible ‘flaws’ and all. It’s all good. It’s all beautiful. Even when i feel unfit, old, ugly and not enough. I’m openly sharing my vulnerability here because after spending most of my life living in conflict with myself, I now celebrate my wholeness, even though the world is yet to accept me as I know myself to be: Agender. Being. Me.

Seconds after my lovely daughter asks if the fruit is edible, she bites into it, causing lots of tiny cactus spikes to embed in her lips! Poor thing! She did discover later that by soaking the fruit in warm water allows the fine spike to come out. It took a while, but we plucked all the fine needles out her lips in the end.

Myself and Buki strutting some South London style on the dusty beach road. Video taken by Ekua Bayunu.

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Oh the variety of colours in the rocks on the beach!

Our day trip to Mogan gave us the opportunity to enjoy a more touristy setting and an easy to navigate sandy beach with calmer waters. Glad we’re not staying here for the full 6 weeks though!

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So much beauty and diversity in just the cacti!  Numerous ideas for carving pots in this one shot alone 🙂

Beginning to enjoy the varied delights of mountain life and dramatic interactions between mountains and clouds. The clouds sometimes come down to your level.

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Clinging on for dear life. The shrubs are inspiring in their determination to keep thriving!
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Wearing my golden yellow passion fruit like its jewellery. Who needs diamonds when your’e surrounded by such rich delights of nature!
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Pioneer trail. Shadow on the road from the beach.

How I made rope (featured in the ‘Reclaiming my being’ photoshoots) from fallen banana leaves I gathered on my walk.

Digging the dry arid soil looking for clay. My ‘tool’ is an old bent pipe I found on the beach. I never thought I’d gain so much fun from just digging! 😀

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Realising this island is pure rock and dry dirt, I decide to work in reverse and sieve the art dirt then wet it in the hope to make something budlike to extract clay from. Not feeling very confident at this stage… (more clay making in week 3)

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