As a Black queer womxn who, for most of her life, was forced to make sense of her non-existence in the eyes of the society she is a part of, Omololu Babatunde‘s art takes many forms but is always an experiment and attempt at performing an honesty to self that is perpetually denied to her. As the daughter of Nigerian and South African immigrants, with many waves of her family lineage tussling through the conundrum and heartache of being a Black diasporic person occupying white spaces, her work is concerned and interested with what it means to create home in foreignness. Her work is an attempt to study these tucked away makings of “home,” investigating the isolation that breeds in these situations, the desperateness that hides in the tight grips of “there is no one else but us” and “we, your family, are all you need,” the alienation of being marked other outside of the land that birthed you in otherance, the forging together of many fragments, picked up and carried to get you through. In her art, she wants to put pressure onto these instances. She wants to hold them firmly, not solely in anger of what has happened but with a desire to illuminate what can be revealed from these parsed and pulling ways of living. How do we learn from the resiliency of these situations? What would it mean to witness the possibility that these situations present around possessing a deep commitment to another as your only lifeline to get you through? What could be made possible if we can, by studying the life that resides in these moments, expand these gripping understandings of “being with” beyond familial ties and use them to think through new ways of being with ourselves that don’t depend on biology to tell us who deserves to be held this fiercely, whose breath needs to be fought for, and whose love you can cherish.
Participation at the 2017 West End Poetry Festival
The Poetics of Migration | Saturday, October 21 | 4:15 to 5:45 pm | Century Center