Whaling Out For Change?

Although ‘In It For Good’, the 2015 Green Capital year officially ended on Friday.  It is fast approaching lent and off the back of 2015, there are several ‘giving up’ initiatives happening in Bristol one of which is an idea to give up or reduce the amount of plastic that we use.  Cotton buds, straws, plastic bottles and other litter often find their way into our rivers and ultimately into the sea.  Below is a photo of a collection of former cotton buds found in a recent 400m clean up of the River Avon.

CYsaaeRWEAEgoGlWe have long been questioning the effect that pollution, plastic and other factors may have upon us and the planet’s wildlife.  I am almost a month into my residency at the Arnolfini which runs alongside the exhibition VERTIGO SEA . I find it quite ironic that 2016 should start in part with a number of beached whales on our UK coast lines and around the coasts of our European neighbours.  I reflect on the ‘In Conversation’ event held with John Akomfrah at the Arnolfini just a few weeks ago where he rejected the suggestion that his work was prophetic or that he himself was a prophet.  But now with all the media attention on his work Vertigo Sea which explores the whaling industry, and the fact that there have been a total of 6 beached whales in the UK and 29 in total in just a matter of weeks the paranoid may ask if this is some kind of ‘sign’.

Scientists try to make sense of this and one reason relates to the military use of sonar.  So one has to pose the question is this mans fault?  And if so what must we all do?

Sperm Whales Beached In Skegness

Graffiti saying ‘mans fault’ is seen on the tail of one of three Sperm Whales that were found washed ashore on a beach near Skegness over the weekend on January 25.

Through my research I have started reading author Philip Hoare’s Leviathan which also led me to as learn about West Country philosopher Thomas Hobbes and his book of the same name from which I end this blog post with a quote.

And if this be madness in the multitude, it is the same in every particular man. For as in the midst of the sea, though a man perceive no sound of that part of the water next him, yet he is well assured that part contributes as much to the roaring of the sea as any other part of the same quantity: so also, though we perceive no great unquietness in one or two men, yet we may be well assured that their singular passions are parts of the seditious roaring of a troubled nation.”

― Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

leviathan

 

KICKING OFF 2016 WITH A DANCE RIOT!

Dance has always been such an integral part of my life although admittedly of late it has been put on the back burner.  Following on from my previous success with the Sound System Dance Class, I am happy to announce that I am back with a new class concept: Dance Riot. Dance Riot will be a diverse and empowering journey through dance.  Expect killer tunes, a good workout, accessible moves, self expression, creativity and choreography.

It’s nothing too complicated and doesn’t necessarily have any major clever dance technique underpinning the class – the style – my style is rugged, heart felt and grounded. Afro centric dance and other folk styles are a big part of it but intuition, community and the power of collectivity are the main drivers.

The place is the Kuumba Centre on Hepburn Road – the time is Thursdays 7-8pm – the cost £5.  Starts 21st January.

See you on the dance floor and then on the streets!

Dance Riot Flyer

THE BLACK MADONNA

Depictions of Mary and Jesus are widespread and date from ancient times to modern day representations.  Prevalent in medieval Europe (circa 12th -15th Centuries) are the shrines, statues and depictions of the Black Madonna.  These tend to be found in traditionally Catholic areas with even older images of ‘the Black mother’ being found in places such as Sardinia.

Dark, Mother, Dark Others, and a new world case of Sardinia

 

‘How do people migrate from being human beings to cockroaches?’ John Akomfrah on historical amnesia and fiction.

I am lucky to have time on my hands to be an artist, a mum, a homemaker and a researcher.  Today I went to Central Library to look at inspirational book Ghosts of Songs – The Film Art of the Black Audio Collective.

500x500_the-ghosts-of-songs-the-art-of-the-black-audio-film-collective_163922_0

‘For those who have known the cruelties of becoming… let them bear witness to the process by which the living transform the dead into partners in struggle.’ Reference to Handsworth songs – p 22 Ghosts of Songs.

Watch film artist John Akomfrah talk about his practice in relation to history and memory ahead of his installation Vertigo Sea at The Arnolfini in January.

http://bcove.me/i3llqkyd

‘How do people migrate from being human beings to cockroaches? What do you have to forget?  What is the process of amnesia that allows the kinds of forgetting that builds into hierarchies where there are beings and non-beings?’

50 Years of The Race Relations Act

Bristol played its part in the creation of the Race Relations Act with the pressure from the Bristol Bus Boycott having preceded the 1965 Act by two years in 1963.

Whenever I give talks about St Pauls Carnival and its history, I always make the point that the Race Relations Act alone did not have the power to change things on the ground and so the St Pauls Festival was formed in 1968 to bring about community and inter cultural cohesion and understanding.

 

Featured image above of Luke Carter’s winning design for the Bristol Pound £B10 note

CARNIVAL: What have I said?!

I don’t think I have ever been shy in saying what I think or speaking my truth as I see it.  Its been a lively few weeks – year, three years even, with press interviews regarding Carnival.  I have been both the face and the mouth and without training I have followed my own rules despite advice from the well meaning of ‘don’t get emotional or political’ um sorry mate its too late!

Here are a few links to what I have said! Includes both mainstream and independent  alternative media platforms.

Back in 2014! http://www.bristol247.com/channel/news-comment/people/bristol_breakfasts/bristol-breakfasts-cleo-lake

Bristol Cable article on p32 back in July http://issuu.com/bristolcable/docs/cable__4

iTV   http://www.itv.com/news/west/2015-11-04/it-wont-be-the-end-say-st-pauls-carnival-organisers/

Me on itv

Interview with Da Fuchaman on I A Rasta TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZcxinF56qs

Interview with Tony Gosling on Dialect Podcast

 

 

The Distance – African Connections Poetry Workshop

On Sunday 22nd November I took part in a poetry workshop – part of an interesting African Connections festival organised by Bristol University.

http://beinghumanfestival.org/event/african-connections-poetry-workshop/

Facilitated by poets Edson Burton and Miles Chambers it sought to take ‘participants through their own poetic works and voice. The workshop will feature a series of writing exercises and meditations to enable participants to use poetry to speak their own, unique Bristol stories’.

One exercise was to create word clusters springing off of an initial word impetus.  I chose the word DISTANCE.

word cluster

And here is my edited poem started at that workshop.

THE DISTANCE

A plot that foiled life

Parked in infinite debt

Understood limited belonging

Beyond the Diaspora

It wasn’t calculated in miles

Empty lie-fact statistics

That side of the brain

Told the price in Pounds, Jamaican Dollors, Ghanaian Cedis

Regardless Rates of Exchanges

Stared them out of budget

But not out of their budge shit

As they looked on through the glass below

Pointing

Every gaining step

On the Ratish wheel of death

Grew the distance further

He heard her

As a sound byte

On the news

To be reborn

On a track

Wit the youth

Now behind again

Trans Suslantic

Collective inequalities were excellently taught in education, in history

Standing as they did in Unity

It seemed the boundary would be moved

The ceiling shattered

Belonging as they did to the earth

And to each other

Going Back to The Future

The 360 prior, forwards and facing present.

Cleo Lake 22/11/15