It almost seems as though Blackness is inevitably linked to a passage through the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, Evros River, whether historic or recent. The potential of self-actualisation lapping at someone’s feet always calls to mind the blood, sweat and tears of those who have come before them. Can new lore shift the entanglement of Black bodies and their environments, making unquestionably clear that they belong?
David Uzochukwu’s photographs deliver you into warm and sensitive worlds where humans and nature entwine in search of belonging. Expanses of sand, water or sky embrace Black bodies emanating strength and resilience. Often their limbs morph into fantastical forms against hyper-real landscapes that offer a space for contemplation or escape. It’s this interplay between the natural and supernatural, between the visible and invisible, that imbues the artist’s images with an arresting presence.
Uzochukwu’s ongoing body of work, Mare Monstrum / Drown In My Magic, uses the central idea of Black mermaids to explore both the historical relationship between the African diaspora and the water and contemporary politics around illegal migration. A great part of the images were made in Senegal in 2018 and show mermen emerging from the seas protecting and healing one another. The most recent images came together in Germany and introduce a whole community of hybrid merfolk in states of solace and rebirth. An incubated baby, a proud centaur and a tender couple, among others, inhabit a boundless realm.
The breathtakingly beautiful works of Drown in My Magic are now live on Artsy.
All images (c) David Uzochukwu courtesy of the artist and Galerie Number 8.