Child of Magohalmi and the Echoes of Creation, 2019, photo documentation of performance: 50 min 21 sec, at Art Night London 2019. Photo by Matt Rowe. Courtesy Art Night London and the artist.

Ancestral Sisterhoods of the Deep Sea and Outer Space

Halfway into my conversation with Zadie Xa, raucous caws emanated from her end of the video chat. It turns out there was a nest of seagull chicks right outside the window of her London studio. “They’re celebrating. Apparently, they get excited because they’re going to fly and become independent,” Xa told me, conveying her research into the avian cries. Not coincidentally, a seagull stars as a narrator in her touring solo exhibition “Moon Poetics 4 Courageous Earth Critters and Dangerous Day Dreamers” (2020–21), alongside a cabbage, conch shell, orca, and fox. In the show’s audio work, the wise cabbage says, “All beings respond to the movement of Earth and her Moon, to the undulations of all planets, stars and cosmic bodies of the universe. This is Moon Poetics. How well do you know the land you grow on?” Through displays of patchwork capes, paintings, sculptures, and sound elements, Xa guides visitors to tune into the ecologies that we’re a part of, and that we have irreversibly damaged.

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