Protest and Revolution

  • 1-45 Have Lied, 46-100 Will Be No Different (I Don’t Want a Dyke for President)
    • Mwende Katwiwa

    poem, 2019; video, 3 minutes and 58 seconds, filmed & edited by Xach Blunt for Write About Now Poetry, 2020.

    Artist Statement

    During my time as co-chair of BYP100-New Orleans (2014-2016), we engaged in actions and conversations on police abolition and imagining alternative cities.

    POEM|VIDEO: In 2016, I heard the “landmark poem” ‘I Want a President’ and struggled to identify with it. As I delved deeper into abolition, I found my hesitation – it hoped “the master’s tools” would dismantle the Master’s house instead of questioning the existence of the [White] house.

    The refrain “i wanna…isn’t possible” is a reminder we need|have more questions at this stage of world building|ending, and that questions are a necessary part of finding (o)the(r) answer(s). It intentionally names getting rid of things that form the seemingly unmalleable container of humanity.

    The end of the poem|video asks us to contend with abolition as a process that must begin somewhere|sometime, one that we must collectively and individually practice until we come to what we have agreed is “the other side of here”. It recognizes we have been socialized out of imagination and this impacts our ability to see|set ourselves free. I believe that “words create worlds” and that one can “speak things into existence”, so, rather than shaming us for the impact of our socialization, it urges us to begin anew here|now (wherever here|now is for you) and be brave enough to say, I may not know what will work, but if I|we start trying today, I|we will get there sooner than if we continue to go down this road to nowhere we are on.

    Artist Bio

    I am Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa, a community-based story|teller and an antidisciplinary & undisciplined creative. I do not consider myself an artist as much as I consider myself a vessel that creative energy passes through when I am brave enough to engage with it. I see my work in this world as making myself ready to receive the stories that choose me to tell|be them on this plane at this time. I am a story|teller – one who is a living narrative (story) and one who acts as a vessel for narratives for a living|to stay alive (teller).

    At the heart of my artistic identity & practice are my feelings. I engage with creativity when I am in control of it (vs. when I have to get out of the way of it and just receive) to process & externalize my inner world and its tensions. I think artists are some of the few people socialized to feel and retain their feelings & imagination, though as a dark skinned migrant it has taken me years to cultivate the bravery to feel fully|freely.

    By antidisciplinary, I mean I have released attachment to genre and “becoming” an artist and am more focused on becoming myself and allowing whatever creative expression most completely articulates that to do so. I am unconcerned with how the work comes forward as long as it comes forward. These days my stories are emerging in the form of collages, poems, short stories, prose anecdotes, photos/modeling and Kiondo weaving. I am technically untrained in all of these mediums (except for community-based workshops in poetry and my cũcũ (grandma) teaching me how to make kiondo), but that means little to me. More at @MwendersInSuspenders and