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MAHARI CHABWERA:

He burned our drums, So we drummed our bodies; a developing dedication to The Vulva

JUNE 2018




ARTIST STATEMENT

Cruelty is believing (internalizing) that white is the only way to describe light.

Cruelty’s not being able to picture a god that’s not white,
not being able to picture a god that’s a woman,
not being able to picture the Spirit as you.

Cruelty is learning at 23 that your Vagina’s not a Vagina.
Instead,
She’s a Vulva.

“Pussy so good I say my own name during sex.” (1)
My own body is a mystery to me.

Cruelty is googling “vulva”
and seeing white
white
white
white
white
white as norm
white as dominant
white as expectation

In a society so often sexist and racist -
Irreverent to my existence,
“This shit is for us.” (2)
(these paintings, words etc.)

In West African sculpture when a woman is depicted with both hands holding her breasts she is telling the world to behold her power.

“and everywhere its paramount divinity is that metaphoric apparition of the life that outlives death who became in later centuries venerated as the Goddess of Many Names. I am she.” (3)

The universe moves because of her.
Vegetation, coming out of the earth, rises.
My clitoris rises.
did you know she engorges?

“He (god) cut down the termite hill (her clit), and had intercourse with the excised earth. (rape)” (4)
In many patriarchies they’ve ritualized her cutting
Brutalized her lips,
Fastened together what rawness is left.
Stitched flesh meant to be forced open.
Excised.

“RESISTANCE IS THE SECRET OF JOY.” (5)
Image making as resistance.
As resistance goes, this isn’t enough, I know.
but for now,
this is all I have.

He burned our drums, so we drummed our bodies;
a developing dedication to The Vulva.

1. Cardi B, I Do. feat. SZA, Invasion of Privacy
2. Solange, F.U.B.U. feat. The-Dream & BJ The Chicago Kid, A Seat at the Table
3. Joseph Campbell, The Mythic Dimension, p.98
4. Alice Walker, Possessing The Secret of Joy, p. 169
5. Alice Walker, Possessing The Secret of Joy, p. 279