The Colonizer’s Archive is a Crooked Finger: A Photo Essay
“Colonial photography perpetually assaulted what became the Nigerian body.”
As strangers, we are bound to a collective fate. The world is a storehouse for all the names and gestures we share. Occasionally it stretches beyond its bounds. My future replaced your past; my present is backdated until yours arrives. Time is shuffled.
you have cut short your lifeI received an assignment from God!
What I know about the dead, I imagine.
All those to whom I entrust the meaning of my life, its promise, its secret ambitions and unnamable longings: They are contraband. I smuggle them into my heart, my hands folded in prayer: “Stay with me.”
in spite of
Lovers know this, but often need to be reminded: No desire is misplaced. As a river knows itself a tributary, so desire travels, surrendering, undulating.
What I know of the dead, I imagine.
Emmanuel Iduma is the author of A Stranger’s Pose, a book of travel stories, and The Sound of Things to Come, a novel. Born and raised in Nigeria, his stories and essays on art appear frequently in journals, magazines, artists’ books, and exhibition catalogues. He received a 2017 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation grant in arts writing, and is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, New York.
More in this series
Inside his sewing box was an old girlfriend’s felt heart, stuck with pins. Throw it out, he says. I don’t.
“I imagined that spending so much time with a dead thing might make death more understandable.”