‘Liberty Leading the Digital’
These portraits were heavily influenced by the Eugène Delacroix painting “Liberty Leading the People.” My interpretation was a revolution through the internet and technology. Liberty leading us through a new age. I shot this with an iPhone camera and used various apps to edit.
Munesu Mukombe is a multimedia artist. Through her art she explores life experiences she has difficulty coming to terms with: whether it’s race, sexuality, mental health, death or heartbreak. Munesu likes exploring the artistic ways she explains the multiplicity of her lived experience. She also just likes to make interesting things to look at.
‘I’m proud of young me, I owe her everything.’
Wildabout: Would you say your art is personal? Political?
Munesu: I say both. Being black and queer and a woman in this world my body is political which means all my experiences in this web of systems and oppression are impacted by my identity, whether I like it or not. I guess now my work has more of a political intent. Before if I made a sculpture it was because I like colours and material. If I tried to put that in a gallery it would become politicised because barely any black people and/or women get to be in galleries. But recently I started making a video about the London riots and that instantly off the bat is political because before I’ve even tried to place my work in the world I’m already saying something about the racial political climate.
Wildabout: Why do you make art?
Munesu: I make art because, I don’t know, I always feel like there are endless possibilities with art. It’s one of the few things that makes me feel like there are no boundaries. I love how much control I have over it. Even though the institution I’m in is oppressive, a positive is that I get to have so much access to resources! My imagination is bigger than it’s ever been before. I am so lucky.
Wildabout: For whom?
Munesu: I’ve been really tearing myself up over this question lately. Being in a white institution my work isn’t necessarily always understood, so I’m always on this line of whether or not I need to be an educator or whether or not I should say “fuck it” and turn my back on everyone. I’m always trying for a good grade which is another thing that gets me stuck because essentially I’m tailoring something so personal as my work to the opinions of others. I mean, I go back and forth because the most unlikely people (aka white people) will come up to me and say something to me and I know instantly they understand and appreciate my work. I guess… first and foremost my work is for myself. It’s complicated and I’m complicated and it helps me cope with this complicated world. After that my work is for other people who are feeling complicated haha. I like to think that I’m screaming out to a void that’s easier to deal with than thinking anyone’s seeing my work.
Wildabout: If you could say a few words to your younger self what would you say?
Munesu: I would tell myself that I’m doing a really good job and that it will pay off. I grew up going to school in a really rich white town. It was suffocating, I don’t know how I did it but I really insisted on being myself. I’m proud of young me, I owe her everything.
When I was growing up there were crane flowers (birds of paradise) in a bundle in front of my house
I remember my father
I remember when the glass table split like a ghost in the backyard
I remember a Miscarriage and thief (me)
I remember dry humping a pillow
silent guilty pleasure
I remember me young
I remember me now
a body so high with politics and grief, it requires a daily newspaper.
mirror like bodies carry mimicry of life
black bodies turn into black voids
I had a dream last night of when I met the state.
A crane flower so pure
climbed out of my throat, dug its roots on my tongue and shook their hand with its bud.
Hard lived teeth
I bite on the stem before they have the chance to yank it out.
I remember the crane flower
bobbing back and forth with enthusiasm in front of my house
I wonder if it was warning me or if it was giddy with delight.
by Munesu Mukombe
Follow Munesu’s work: http://cargocollective.com/munesumukombe/11888459
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