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Touch Me I Hate That

The impulse toward civility is dominantly commanded by an imposed and accepted set of cultural values, acts, utterances that are designed to eliminate critical thought. Mindless niceties ( bless you, excuse me, you have the right to... or the absence thereof define a person's status among civilized beings. Yet, intimacy, touch and time in close proximity with strangers, with loved ones are accepted as torturous and invasions of one's humanity.

"Touch me, I Hate That(2018) create spaces of intimate contact or near contact with its audience as an opportunity to reflect, reevaluate and remember touch as a tool for healing (above harm and trauma). The intervention employs "props" like textile, flowers, and found objects to make contact with individuals with varying degrees of speed, pace, pressure and power.

As an “American-born Ghanaian” my work as a performance artist, filmmaker and cultural advocate is entirely rooted in a desire to bring harmony to a personal sense of cultural dissonance. Being raised with a sense of both Anglo- centrism and Afro-normalcy was dizzying at best, and led me to question how my parents decided what of our Ghanaian culture to guard and discard. This work investigates intersecting cultural ethos and acquired value structures transferred via cultural inheritances, social cues, foreign imposition and self- direction. It questions why we love what we love and asks, what is worthy of honor? Shame? How do we come to identify the acceptable and the taboo? By employing the recurrent elements of water, red palm oil, lace gloves, textiles and found natural objects I explore these themes by conflating identity, rebirthing ritual and playing with sensuality.

Performed at Panoply Performance Lab, Brooklyn in 2018.

Editorial by Akiko Ichikawa, published in Institution is a Verb by Panoply Performance Lab, 2021

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