UNTITLED - A POEM BY FAYE KABALI-KAGWA IN RESPONSE TO STEPHANIE "KENYAA" MZEE'S 'COMPLY'

 

Stephanie Mzee, more fondly referred to as Kenyaa, is Cape Town-based creator whose latest contribution to the art world, "COMPLY- COMPLY- COMPLY " stirs up dialogue around the subtle violence of domestic work and the expectation of obedience, discretion and its subsequent notions of slavery.

This conceptual photography series is currently showing at Youngblood Africa on Bree Street, where Ugandan idea-smith Faye Kabali-Kagwa conjured up some words in response to this replete series of images. Take a look at both below:

 

UNTITLED 

Shuffled feet
Bodies pressed against skin, polyester, bad decisions and laughter
A child cries in the distance
I run
Away
My feet pound the ground
Criss crossing crowded space
I run before I become nanny
Before lullabies spill from my throat
Before headscarf turns into cradle
Before a child is poured onto my back
Before wetness spreads across my chest
Before I am

Milk stirred into porcelain
Silver spoon clinking against the rim
Sipped gently tea slowly stains white enamel teeth
Her pale face breaks into a smile "You are so beautiful" she says "You should be on these walls" 
Saucer plate eyes turn spotlight as my body is projected against blank space 

I think of how my mother would rub cream into my body
Special attention given to ankles, elbows, and knees
A salve that protected my skin from thirst, cracking itself into a dry white

When I am alone
I remember that my body is my own
Run back into brown skin
Become my own womxn
Again

 

WORDS: FAYE KABALI KAGWA

PHOTOGRAPHY: STEPHANIE 'KENYAA' MZEE