Kasevikundu’s Hut, Home Work(s) exhibition, Mutatis Mutandis, Dillard University Art Gallery, New Orleans, LA, 2003, and Home/Works, Betty Rymer Gallery, Chicago, 2003

Kasevikundu’s Hut is an almost real-size print of a photograph I took of my Grandmother’s home in Shangev Tiev, Benue State, Nigeria. This hut was one of a number in her compound on our family farm. There was something mesmerizing about the light quality in contrast between cool darkness within and languid brilliant warm outside, captured through the small door portal.

At Dillard University for Mutatis Mutandis (those things which must be changed/having been changed) in 2003, I installed the print with a light centered in back so it illuminated the center, and created a circle of packed soil a slightly scaled-down circumference of Kasevikundu’s actual hut.

This work brings me close to home every time I see it; something about the tactile experience of walking barefoot on a circle of soil is reminiscent of a hut’s interior and of an earthen rug. At the same time, there is nostalgia for someone, for somewhere that no longer exists in this state. Most of my family is displaced from this area due to neighboring attacks. The orchards have been burned multiple times; to lose trees which take so long to grow is a particular kind of devastation. The work functions as portal on many levels now.