Now, more than ever I feel the urgency to stop policing my own desire to engage in acts of retreat, leisure, and dreaming that are actualized outside of the social and political obligations that are often imposed on my being. I’m interested in a way of existing that is otherwise driven by what Kathleen Collins has noted as “an urge, a powerful and overwhelming urge, to fulfill myself, to fulfill this life that is inside me, to fulfill it in every way, leaving nothing untapped…”. 1
What can be accessed or actualized individually or collectively when we move with and through our own desires? What are the limitations or tensions that can arise in a quest for fulfillment and leaving “nothing untapped”? What does it look like or feel like rather, as a Black woman, to live a life guided by fulfillment and desire?
I constantly dream of the ease, vastness, and sense of fulfillment I’ve experienced among landscapes I’ve known and visited - even if fleeting, that have offered more aliveness to me than I can articulate. The environments visualized in this body of work are my offering of a sense of elsewhere, autonomy, self-realization, and fulfillment that I’m in perpetual pursuit of, in the likeness of those such as Collins and so many others.
- zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o'neal
1 Kathleen Collins, Notes from a Black Woman’s Diary (Harper Collins, 2019), 49. Diary entry dated October 12th, year unknown.