a series of open questions
wrapped netted strung sung
warp weft and
a call to bring the hands together, like braiding magnetic and
both my hands are carrying everything
my feet— a small and whole dance
pointed toe, firm heel
through obsidian movement
Love lingers lengthwise— a latitude, a lattice — through nets, weft, an entangled rendition, figures rendered visible through another’s love, or hands held like this— also a way to say love.
Love lingers lengthwise— extends itself in all directions, a room that holds a sea-glass green creature, another one, its sliver of wings. In another version, a new crimson spills— across it a quick-legged creature slithers to the edges of the frame.
Then, there is the word vessel— a mirage in threes. Where are the women going? What do their vessels hold? What could spill from them? What is their containment? We grant the questions their own stillness. We sit with them. And near the women, there is the stabilizing motion of the legs, the canter of them.
Then, there are two— entwined in a lattice anything but threadbare, the porous warm circle of it, an open net for encasement. Let love address it or call the gesture I am here, too. In another, at the base blooms a worn rose swath— readily giving way to dense greens.
Here, we see people doing their daily business: fetching water in groups of three, braiding hair, groups of four in their leisure, a peak existing. Small creatures go about their business, too— a four-headed red
speckled spider observes a laughing white figure, a long-necked beetle, and a snake readying itself to slide away. It becomes difficult to tell a small insect from a human, they take on one another’s features. To mingle this way is another kind of entanglement or love.
To arrive at the place where all that’s left is love is to open the window wide, which Chioma Ebinama does in each of these works on paper. These tender gestures accumulate to build a new and gentle sensibility. They invite the last remaining possibility (as suggested by the title’s ‘only’). But it is anything but an exclusionary ‘only’. The ‘only’ in the title is a giving only, an only of collectivity, of more, of with, and of See what is possible when we believe in love?
Text by Asiya Wadud