Restfulness by Funmi Adewole
My piece is called Restfulness. It is a solo promenade piece with elements of improvised dance and audience interaction. I am drawn to characters and their journeys, their modes of being, coping or overcoming. The character in this piece is a homeless woman. My inspiration comes in part from the exhibition, IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO SURVIVE AND YOU WERE FULL OF JOY, curated by Elizabeth Price. In the section called ‘Work’ you will find Edward Onslow Ford’s marble sculpture Snowdrift (1901) and Giulio Paolini’s sculpture Nécessaire (1968) which is a stack of blank sheets of paper. The sculptures make me think about rest and the labor it takes to get it, keep it, and find it again. And about the tyranny of labor that does not lead to rest. My woman wears her bedclothes and her bedding. She carries many objects but only objects that have a story. If you ask her about one of them, she will tell you everything you need to know and nothing more. My mother fuelled my love of stories. Her vivid accounts of people she had meet in the streets of Lagos would make me cry with laughter. From my mother’s performances (she would never call them that) I learnt a lot about the world – the importance society places on dress, bodily comportment and the ability to speak up. She believed that demonstrating who you were or at least who you were not played a significant role in how you performed in life. She was a master in the communication of subtext. Looking back I realize that I found communication to be a puzzle which performance helped me resolve. My mother’s stories were a gift that born of her labor. I would laugh and that laughter was rest.
Funmi Adewole is a performer/writer. Her performance credits include tours with Horse and Bamboo Mask and Puppetry Company, Adzido Pan-African Dance Ensemble, and the Chomondeleys. She is interested in characters and their journeys. Her work draws on her background in African dance drama, storytelling and structured dance improvisation. She is a PhD candidate in Dance Studies at De Montfort University