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.
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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.”