Water Foot is a performance archive film made in response to the position of responding to the Hans Himmelheber exhibition at Museum Rietberg. Upon being invited to respond New Kyds first reaction was refusal. They felt offended by the request, but yet felt moved to stay curious and stick to their principle understanding that “the only way out is through”. They were drawn to the Mami Wata segments as they have often been interested in deities and mythological identities which can be cross examined with deities from Yoruba culture and religious practices. As a child of the diaspora experience, New Kyd has found themselves connected to others through: hair, music and stories.
New Kyd takes on questioning what it means to have self awareness. First as black non-binary artist, then secondly as a Nigerian from the Yoruba tribe. Kyd is inspired by the “Igbo landing” where in May 1803, the slaves refused to submit, and instead walked into the water which brought them to European land.
They make an elaborate post-modern ritual performance which is personal, intimate and hopefully inspiring. They made a braid which connects from the front of the museum space down into the exhibition space treating it as a stage. Providing a story and a ritual of passage for diasporans who usually find themselves lost and overwhelmed with the responsibility of making sense of the history which we as entangled in. Ultimately, Water Foot is a way to question how many boundaries and bridges we must break and mend, before we can finally be in a place of trust and mutual care.
Water Foot centralises their focus towards the perspective of ‘everyday’ people of the diaspora who would enter the space. A shift of perspective that questions the targeted audience of Himmelheber’s collection and archive and ways to manage the internal conflict which arises when asked to respond to the exhibition.
It places focus on the diaspora as cultural descendants of artists and communities in Himmelheber’s archives. We use the diasporic lens to reinterpret the space, objects and historical context of the collection.
Knowing the colonial gaze and context to which a lot of Himmelheber's work is translated through. New Kyd will use the camera (applied gaze) to pose the question: “Is it possible to have agency when there is a camera around?” The use of a camera in her would position it as a weapon. Water foot uses hair and material objects which have kept them “grounded” and connected to what feels like home to make a performance. They ask themselves, “how can I make a ritual which honours my own body, mind, soul and legacy. How to maintain integrity and self love while also critically passing through uncomfortable discourses. “The only way out is through”… one braid at a time, one path at a time. Crossing over water and making bridges towards each other while also respecting and honouring the boundaries of different cultures. Is this possible?
Special thank you to Aàdesokan Adedayo and Musa Ganiyy, my grandma, mother, sisters.