What is DOLPH? Exhibitions Press Publications

Barby Asante

Exhibition Images

June 2017

For Ama. For Aba. For Charlotte and Adjoa

She not only refuses a comfortable belonging to nation, or country, or a local street, she alters them by demonstrating that geography, the material world, is infused with sensations and distinct ways of knowing: rooms full of weeping, exhausted countries, a house that is only as safe as flesh.

Katherine McKittrick
Demonic Grounds

Ama wrote for herself, a poem – “A Declaration of Independence”

Oh My Dear Brother,
the decision to
sever to separate
was not based on the knowledge
of me as a forever dreamer
unable and incapable of handling
the clear world of
take and
take and

I walked barefoot, with a basket full of candles with these words hand written on them

“Freedom is a constant struggle – Angela Yvonne Davis”

We will declare ours too!
Autonomy over our bodies, our words, our histories
Our traces elevated to objects of ritual remembering
An archeology of black memory, a memory practice, Sankofa

I speak in the tongues of my mother and my grandmother and my grandmothers before her
Although I do not know the words
My very being is the evidence of those languages
It is in these words I will speak
It is in these words that I will create
It is in these words that I will question

I question Diaspora as an ideal or narrative
As the distance between becomes more apparent as we get to 2nd, 3rd & 4th generations removed from“motherlands”

So how do I map myself, my family, the people that left and arrived and continue to arrive, even though they make borders, make check points and build walls

The process of making
Is enacting my presence
The hard navigation of presences, absences, visibility, invisibility
Navigating/ finding routes, ROOTS
Arranging traces of memory from archives that will never be constituted
Entering spaces without invitation
Or spaces that have a antagonistic or conditional invitations
Time limited invitations
Invitations by special arrangement
Presence as a performance of a certain kind of sociability
That explains a connection, but keeps you outside, always arriving, never settled

The need becomes urgent
Utterances become words, sounds, whispers, shouts
The need to collect, assemble, activate the stories the narratives
Undo the knowledges, what is known
To make something visible
Drawing new maps from old.

Barby Asante 2017