Sunsum, in Spirit

Adama Delphine Fawundu

Water is the connecting element that runs through the works of Adama Delphine Fawundu. The artist is interested in the nexus of social movements and collective tendencies and how these are mirrored in the motif of water. With a view to and awareness of transhistorical connections, a range of temporalities are connected: past, present, and future all coincide within Fawundu’s artistic vision. As a locus of memory, the sea narrates generations of its own stories – and it is here that Derek Walcott’s well-known poem The Sea is History, a source of inspiration to Fawundu alongside texts by Anton Wilhelm Amo, offers many forms of explicit connection.


Sunsum, in Spirit, 2020  uses collage-like methods to bring together a range of images from various river points. References include poets and activists May Ayim and Audre Lorde, whose years in Berlin in turn inspired Ayim. In her expansive installation, Fawundu combines collages of moving image material together with photographs, with new image levels being added via superimposed projections. Here too, the sea is projected as a place that mediates sinking and (ritual) healing.


Finally, various (narrative) threads coalesce into a handmade book. Page by page, recurring symbols from the artist’s work—such as the sea, natural and artificial hair, roots and routes —


“The ‘new language’ symbolizes life, a sense of freedom, living rather than just surviving within the complexities of systematic oppression. This is what the body does intuitively – the “body” never truly dies, it transforms” ( Adama Delphine Fawundu)


Samples: May Ayim “Blues in Black and White” in Maria Binder “Hope in My Heart – The May Ayim Story” Film Trailer; Louis Henderson “The Sea is History” Soundtrack; Michelle Parkerson “A Litany For Survival – the Life and Work of Audre Lorde” Film Trailer; Ella Andall “Yemaya (Great Divine Mother of the Orisas)”; Bessie Jones “Beggin’ the Blues”; Humboldt Universität Berlin Lautarchiv “Duala (Kamerun), Gesang – LA 1334”, “Baule (Elfenbeinküste), Flöte – PK 1596/1”