‘SOUTH X SOUTH EAST’ by Belinda Zhawi for Collective Intimacy

Thursday 21 November 2019

Writer, sound artist and educator Belinda Zhawi stages SOUTH X SOUTH EAST, a new & ongoing performance that combines poetry and sound to explore the emotional landscape of youth migration whilst interrogating what it means to forge identities based on geographies.

Belinda Zhawi: SXSE – Home Is, 2019

Home is of my mother’s village,
after the divorce - my village
of red dust hot days,
of rattlesnakes, of small huts,
of wild fruit, swollen wells
& mountains, of empty wells,

of maize - fields,
porridge, pudding and harvests,
Of storms, rainbows, of locusts,
of herding goats, digging for water,
of naked swims, of streams, pools
and homesickness.

Of one letter from mother,
of small birds, of catapults,
forest shits and ghosts, of stars,
moons ago, since i last saw my mother

Of church, proverbs, and tales
Of lies, spirits, and ancestors
Of love, romance, and incestors,
of grass traps, bracelets, and hats,
of dry grass roof thatch, of

stars, moons ago, since i last saw my mother

in all this thickness i almost forgot
my mother’s name
said it like my mouth was a calabash
full of turned milk
Mother who left for a country that met
her like a wet slap
to the face. When i see her again,her face
is a stranger to me
and her hands are still hot and cold

Home is a cocoon
of warm water
that we left for ice and worn feet. x2

After a full frozen decade,
I’m surprised I still remember how it feels
to float in a cocoon of warm water

Home is the skin I’m in

A flower bloomed out
of my biro; spread itself into a corner
of a page - jagged pretty & ghetto
like the skin I’m in; like the skin I live in

Home is the skin I’m in

For the Collective Intimacy live programme, artist Belinda Zhawi as MA.MOYO presented SOUTH X SOUTH EAST. This work explores migration when one is young and interrogates what it means to forge identities based on geography. What it means to have more than one home and further exploration of what home means. The aim of the project is to explore the emotional landscape of these seismic shifts and how they can affect a person in their later life when thinking about identity. SXSE aims to explore loss and mourning of home or geographies through the use of poetry, vocalisation and music.

The works featured in this projects are field recordings and original works with musical contributions from harpist, Marysia Osuchowska and Caleb Azumah Nelson.

Collective Intimacy was a live programme that took us on a journey in which multiple and trans-located narratives of the current Black experience and their futuristic imaginaries are the point of departure for a cosmopolitan view of the world. Presented in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory and The Store X, Collective Intimacy took place at 180 The Strand within the Black Image Corporation installation by Theaster Gates, and at The Showroom during October – November 2019. Across these two sites, both the spectacular and the everyday merged in an interconnected programme featuring artists, musicians, designers, writers, thinkers, collectives and members of the public who are invited to distort notions of selfhood and togetherness.

Belinda Zhawi, South X South East Performance, Prada Mode London featuring Collective Intimacy, 3 October 2019, courtesy of Prada. Watch here
Image courtesy of The Showroom


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