Lacuna is an experimental short film project that merges dialogue, moving images, film footage and text. The dialogue comprises conversations on borders, blackness, queerness, and faith between the artist and two other Black, queer folks of Nigerian descent.
The moving images, footage, and some sound elements are from each conversation speaker's immediate surroundings as a way to ground the conversation in a palpable sense of place. The purpose is to illustrate ideas of home, belonging, movement across and engagement with borders.
One of the film's main points of exploration is the psychological and emotional impacts of the culture of queerphobia in Nigeria on queer Nigerians and the tensions in seeking a home, safety, and a sense of belonging in the diaspora.
lacuna is a beacon project for NOCTURNE HALIFAX 2021 on the theme of liminality. it is a further expansion of the artist's practice of engaging with queer people of faith to explore how they reconcile their queerness with inherited and/or chosen faith practices.
in splicing footage and dialogue from multiple geographic locations, perspectives, and people, it seeks to illustrate the fluidity of identities and the spaces where identities and ideologies intersect, contradict, and/or parallel each other. this project is particularly interested in pausing in the 'and/or', 'yes/no', 'neither/both/all' of things.
the audio elements of the project are comprised of two conversations between the artist and two queer people of faith, both of whom are also of Nigerian heritage, a poem, and a music score.
the video elements are comprised of footage from the immediate surroundings of the speakers.
this is the audio track of the film, it consists of clips from the artist's conversation with two queer Nigerians, a poem, music, and ambient noise.
OCTOBER 14th to 16th
lacuna will be screened on a loop on OCTOBER 14TH in VENUS ENVY HALIFAX 1727 Barrington St, Halifax, NS B3J 2A4 between 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM.
COVID 19 safety measures will be in place.
it will also be playing during Venus Envy's regular bussiness hours on October 15th and 16th.
I imagine myself as a body hurtling through time.
I am a body ripping, tripping through space.
Everybody calls me Amin. Amin is an Islamic name that is given to only men. I guess my dad really wanted a boy.
My mom is a Catholic. My dad is a Muslim.
I was a love child. I'm very proud of that because that means things were spicy when I was made. I guess the world needs like labels to know where you are and how to identify with you.
You know? Because I had a nervous breakdown in 2017, which is actually related to my sexuality, fun fact! For the longest while, I thought God hated me. I've had to DIY, the whole spirituality thing. For 27 years I've been running away from the fact that I am a queer man.
Maybe this is a phase. Maybe I can pray it away. I came out to the girl I was dating at the time and she ended up breaking up with me because of that.
But I thought God hated me.
I thought I'd be a disaster. I thought, you know, all that stuff. So that's what running away looks like.
I still like the catholic way of doing things and prayer and the ritual. But maybe it's the space I'm in now.
My body blundering through borders, confounded by the confounding.
Do you identify as a queer person?
Yes, I do identify as bi. I knew when I was like seven or eight that I was not straight. I only share that information with people I'm close to or people I am interested in being intimate with.
You have the right notion, you are not wrong.
Amin is just Amin, is Amin. (laughter) it's like my blood is red. Amin in bi, like the sky is blue. Well, it's not blue right now is a big gray.
It was sad. And I was like, I'm going to be alone. And I became an ashewo.
We were getting more serious, so I was like, by the way, I'm bisexual. And she was like, that's so wonderful! That's amazing! And I was like, wait, I'm sorry.What? Because I had never been around anyone that thought it was OK.
I think we are merely bodies tearing through bodies.
No, I really don't care about what the church thinks, because right now the church has become a capitalistic venture.
So I really don't care.
Birthing bodies slamming into bodies folding.
I mean, I was thinking about community magic and wondering if there's a way in communities and companies.
Folding into bodies, sinking into each other's bodies.
You know, I think there's a really exciting idea space that comes in.
And obviously I have met a lot of amazing women in the church. Hallelujah for that.
I was brought up Muslim, that was like such an essential part of my upbringing. And the Catholics and the Muslim - there's the whole ritual aspect of it that I still have within me.
At that point, I also thought I could pray my queer away.
Dear God, please don't make me queer or bi whatever it is. I felt as if I wasn't hearing God's voice.
I do think if I was outside Nigeria, I would would definitely have a very different life from what I have now.
I contemplated suicide when I came back from Miami because my anxiety was through the roof.
Lacing through bodies and linking, biting, soothing through bodies.
I'll be freeer to just be. I probably would be in less relationships with men.
We're bodies longing for bodies, yielding to...
Because I would be able to approach women more. Here there's the Ping-Pong in your head, like, 'are you?' 'is she?' 'can we?' 'might I?'
I felt as if I heard God's voice say, 'no matter who you are, no matter who you love, no matter what you do, I love you.
I will always love you.'
francesca ekwuyasi is a writer and multidisciplinary artist from Lagos, Nigeria. Her debut novel, Butter Honey Pig Bread was longlisted for the 2020 Giller Prize and was a finalist for CBC's 2021 Canada Reads, the 2021 Lambda Literary Award, 2021Governor General&'s Award, the 2021 ReLit Award, and the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award.
francesca's short story Ọrun is Heaven was longlisted for the 2019 Journey Prize.
Supported through the National Film Board (NFB) francesca's short documentary Black + Belonging has screened in festivals Halifax, Toronto, and Montreal.