Oya Chronicles: In Conversation With my Mother

Words by: Abiola Lawal | Published: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 10:45 AM
Oya Chronicles: In Conversation With my Mother Oya Chronicles: In Conversation With my Mother

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend I was invited to a night of performance, dance, poetry, art, music and discussion.


Oya Chronicles: In Conversation With my Mother is a performance piece written by Funmi Iyanda, a renowned Nigerian media personality, and in this wonderful piece of dance and dialogue she explores the disappearance and death of her mother when she was just a child and the impact that this momentous moment in time had on her identity and her family. Through a powerful display of dance and art the audience are taken on an emotional journey of motherhood, childhood interrupted, grief, loss, life and identity.


The performance is centred on artwork from the prolific contemporary Nigerian artist Ayoola Gbolahan and his paintings complement the show so beautifully, working to tie the visual themes of the performance with Gbolahan’s iconic painting ‘The Blue Woman’. This painting inspired much of the amazing imagery performed onstage by the dancers and painting of Funmi’s mother onstage. The painting was later auctioned off at the end of the show and proceeds will be going towards Khadija Saye fund, Khadija sadly died in the Grenfell Tower fire, she was an upcoming artist and photographer.


The voices of Funmi and her mother were wonderfully spoken by Holby City actress Eleanor Fanyinka, and acclaimed theatre actress Holly Joyce. Both of their interpretations of a traditional Yoruba woman were astounding and convincing, I felt that I was back in Lagos by the poetry and depth of understanding that I heard in their voices and intonations.


The performance is centred on artwork from the prolific contemporary Nigerian artist Ayoola Gbolahan and his paintings complement the show so beautifully, working to tie the visual themes of the performance with Gbolahan’s iconic painting ‘The Blue Woman’

This piece of performance art was astonishingly beautiful and emotional, my only complaint is that it was a one-off show, which I brought to the writer herself, as I feel this piece must be shared with a wider audience. There was so much beauty and rich African heritage that must be celebrated and shared internationally not only to celebrate the achievements of the creators but also for art as a movement and powerful tool of communication. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the performance and how connected I felt to the piece and the artists themselves. This show took me out of my comfort zone and into a place where many questions arose for myself and my own relationship with my mother and my identity.


This piece of performance art was astonishingly beautiful and emotional, my only complaint is that it was a one-off show, which I brought to the writer herself, as I feel this piece must be shared with a wider audience.

I eagerly await news that this performance will be back and on tour for us all to enjoy and thank all of those involved and bringing such art to life. Watch this space.




Info: Oya Chronicles: In Conversation With my Mother was at Kachette on 27 Aug 2017 / see information




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