Thursday, 3 March 2016

Sterotype Dramaturgy: Vivian.C.Ezugha @ Buzzcut

Vivian Chinasa Ezugha was born in Nigeria, Enugu state in 1991. She graduated from Aberystwyth University, School of Art with a first class BA in Fine Art. Before that Ezugha was at Halesowen College fine art foundation 2010-2011.

To  start the conversation about the project; I am interested in how history is performed by society and by individuals.  For that reason, I am drawn to the image of the Mammy as a service provider, an object that provides a service. In that I am working with the concept of being a mother type; a black body that serves as a reminder of historical and social prejudices. 

So for example, I've been developing a series of photographs, films (bad quality films) and drawings using simple objects like tables, chairs and materials like milk. So these objects connect to my understanding of the role of the black female as a mammy, many mammies breast fed their white masters children. 

Yet in the dichotomy of being black in a racist society, many of these women (mammies) were never given the rights and respects they deserved. So in that, I use the milk as a symbol of motherhood but distort the activity of feeding with spilling because in my mind the process of breast feeding is to feed and give love, nutrient etc however, the value of that process is wasted when the body that received it grows to abuse the feeder. 

In addition, black women were used as sexual objects. somehow , there's a fear and there's still a fear of the black body. I play with this by being naked in my own flesh but at the same time clothing
myself with the history of western misogyny. 

My creative process is somewhat difficult, I read what I want and by doing this filter information, then I start to create images in my mind and by doing this, I start creating a performance. Then I draw those performances that then inform and direct how I play with movement in the physical. Sometimes I store the ideas in my mind and go straight into physical play. 

The jezebel archetype is somewhat of a mixture between biblical knowledge of Queen Jezebel and the notion that black bodies were seen by their white counterparts as promiscuous and illusive characters. 

Queen Jezebel in the bible was a woman full of evil, sin and somewhat strong. But her downfall was her inability to look beyond the physical and with a hardened heart of sin , drove Israel and her husband to sin. 

The black woman during the slave period was seen as a woman of sinful ways. she was abused but was told that it was because she was a sinner and a whore. Though she didn't chose to be a whore, her body which was deemed sinful was a playground for those upright white males; who in their cleanliness had to purify the black pit with their semen. 

 I've been playing around in the studio with the dichotomy of black illusiveness in today's society. This is a formed notion that comes out of a racist and a bastard western perverseness around the bodily functions of black women's bodies. 

So 'Twerking' a word that stripes the culture and identity of a dance form that stems from our African heritage. a form that goes beyond the  sexualisation of the female buttocks but is in fact an expression, a pride and freedom of our ancestral movement. twerking is also an appropriation of black identity and in that many arses have gone up and down  in a bid to exemplify some form of power. 

Yet centuries before black women -i.e. Sara Bartram was exhibited and misused for the size of her behind. I  hear the contradiction of the immoral and the moral. 

I love and honour every race of people but I am defined by a history that is not mine or my ancestors, I as a black woman, I  am expected to keep quite or be  angry. I am not expected to use the literal depictions that were created by the system in the land in which I dwell in , to challenge the notion of my identity and the characteristics of that identity. 

So in this , I will create a performance that has all the recognisable archetypes of the mammy image and Jezebel. 

I am a float in a sea of social ridiculousness, a sharp knife that cuts through the womb of bullshit. My focus is to politicize the politics of the black female, to make it relevant to our social and political conscious, to reinvent what is known, to remind us of the past and take us into the future...

My method is performance, the root of experience. I look to create and disseminate the history around black women. I use one thing... that is my body and sorely my body, because as an object my body is as political as this statement.

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