BODY LINGUA FEATURING JAMILLA OKUBO'S ART

Disclaimer: The poetry is not an attempt to explain the artwork. This will just be me writing whatever poetry came to me when I looked at the artwork.



Today we will be exploring the awesomeness that is Jamilla Okubo. I saw her Art on Pinterest and I was in absolute awe. Her art, in my opinion, is a raw and defined mix of Afro, colour and culture. Her painting calls you, mirrors your thoughts and leaves you wondering. It gives you a feel-good sense of adventure and wishes you into resonation. I want to say maybe it's just my eyes, but I know it's not. Jamilla is simply amazing.


Jamilla Okubo's Bio


Jamilla Okubo is a mixed-media and interdisciplinary artist exploring the intricacies of belonging to an American, Kenyan, and Trinidadian identity. Combining figurative painting, pattern/textile design, fashion, and storytelling, she celebrates the Black body in relation to movement, expression, ideology, and culture. Inspired by kanga cloth, which communicates messages derived from Swahili proverbs, quotes from the Qur’an, African folklore and popular culture, Okubo creates her own patterns in reference to the history, mythology, and vernacular of the African diaspora. 


A fusion of Jamilla Okubo's Artwork and my Poetry


Jamilla okubo



Body lingua


I soak my loneliness in wetness 

And it is unable to dry,

 I knock my knees together 

To silence the lips in between my legs.

I pretend not to understand its language 

When our bodies scrape past each other in the lobby.


Jamilla Okubo art


Last supper


Many hands to one bowl

That was my home,

Was how I knew that 

Boiling grain long enough 

Will let it swell into satisfaction.


Was how I knew eating meat was funeral,

Our mouths could not suck on marrows 

Or chew flesh

Unless God struck something dead

And left it decaying in the backyard.


Was how I knew my mother to be a starving woman 

Calculating & observing, 

Marinating the meal in her saliva 

Until my father swallowed his piece. 


Jamilla okubo x dior


The cycle


You will understand

Your mother's Night vigils, 

Her paranoia 

Her annoying dotting & scolding 

Her firmness

Her unsolicited advice & everything

When you watch your daughter

Becoming herself

By reliving episodes of your past mistakes. 


You will call her at your feet

With confusion & anger,

You will ask questions you already know the answers to

You will try to fix unfixable things 

Make calls to whatever is trying to

Turn your child into a bone of loss,

You, this same you 

Will take a page from your mother's book 

To close a chapter of your daughter's vacuum. 





This is us


Maybe we are a brainwashed generation

Maybe we have become too fizzy & unorthodox for regular reasoning

Maybe we are all the things they say we are

Crazy - rebel - doomed!

We have vomited status quo

Trampled conformity underfoot

Decided to live happy and free

On our own risky terms.


We have apologised to our parents

Forced them to bury their expectations

Because we would rather parent plants & cats

Than produce people who will inherit our problems

Maybe this is us

Wanting to relax and be taken care of

Wanting everything in the bag secure

Wanting the table, the seat and the whole room

If this is us

Is it really such a bad thing?



Let my body burn


I want the type 

Of love

that feels 

Like voodoo 

Something enchanting

that will make me fall 

Head over heels 

In touch with my emotions

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I want to be bent 

In positions 

that break my 

Bones into rainbows

Twist my nerves 

Into gummy bears 

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I want the type of love 

that calls me home 

raises my moans 

Above pitches & 

Let's it go up like incense 

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I want this love that 

Lights up my soul

With a match 

Of sensation 

And doesn't care if 

My body Burns 

In ecstasy

⠀⠀⠀

Did you know that Jamilla designed the book cover for An American Marriage  by Tayari Jones

An American marriage by Tayari jones

Read my review of the book here


What was your favourite poem/artwork from this post?

3 comments

  1. Hmmmmm... Hmmhmmmm

    That's the sound of me trying to digest this and hoping not to choke on what is nothing short of premium.

    I literally had to vigorously shake my head at a point to keep my mind from wandering.

    The art and poetry are so in sync that it feels they were made for each other. I'm so glad they met cos this is fireworks. Thannkkk youuu

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the cycle !!!

    ReplyDelete

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