Victor Ekpuk is one of the participants of the Havana Biennial. 22 May-22 June, 2015
About Havana Project:
My project in Cuba will be a continuation of my ephemeral drawing project titled “Meditations on Memories”.
I will be engaging the interior of a large architectural space where I will draw on a large black wall using only white chalk. The intention is to create a metaphysical space that explores memory as an ephemeral and metaphysical condition.
This version of “Meditations on Memories” will be in dialogue with chants of Abakua at Wilfredo Lam Center for Contemporary Art, Havana.
I am looking forward to the prospect of this project, feels I’ll be dialoging with my ancestors in Cuba.
By “drawing memory” in Cuba, I wish to evoke the sacred, aesthetics and metaphysical relationship that exists among the people of Cuba and Africa.
In particular, I will seek to create a contemporary shrine of memory of the ibibio, ejagham and efik ancestors who were brought to Cuba. Those whom the great spirit of Ekpe have protected through the crossing of the treacherous ocean, those whose ancestral memories have been erased only on the surface. Those for whom the siren call of the Tanze (sacred fish) and the roar of the mighty leopard (Ekpe) still calls from across the ocean to dance in the sacred rituals of Abakua.
My drawings will also serve as poems, songs and incantations in honor of these ancestors in the diaspora.
To realize this project, I hope to collaborate with members of Abakua society.
I will listen and transcribe recoded or live Abakua chants in my chalk drawing on the wall.
After my drawing the recorded chants will be left to be heard at the site of the drawing throughout the duration of the biennial.
After the biennial, the chalk drawing may be erased or left to be interfered with by others. This part of the work exemplifies the notion of memory (identity) as ephemeral condition, that is constantly being affected, reshaped and redefined by circumstances.