On pleasure as essential
Contributing editor Chinasa Chukwu on rediscovering pleasure without qualifications, plus her recommendations on what to read and watch this month
In my recent interview with Otegha Uwagba, she mentioned that 2020 had been light on pleasure. Frozen. Somehow as we settled back into our lives, and took our routines, responsibilities, work and kids out of the box, we forgot to pull our pleasures back out as well.
When faced with new anxieties our pleasures seem to be the first to go, laden as they are with the weight of being unearned or undeserved unless they fit into one of the aforementioned categories of guilt or self-care. Escapism, however, doesn’t carry quite the same stigma. The frivolity of escapism is seen as healthy, necessary even, a vehicle to manage our daily stresses and stay sane. So perhaps it’s time we redefined pleasure. Not as something to put away for later or to reward ourselves with but rather as essential. Perhaps reclaiming our pleasure – even as we remain afflicted by feelings of helplessness and bone-grinding frustration at the prospect of an interminably long lockdown – is how our daily pursuits reclaim meaning. To that end here is some inspiration for pleasures to experience now and in the future.
POSTSCRIPT Issue 4
A cultural anthology exploring critical thought from contemporary women, POSTSCRIPT’s fourth (and most recent) issue explores the theme of REVERIE, sharing stories of introspective realities, transcendental liberation and escapism. Throughout, we feature a host of topics on the multiplicity of self, the politics of pleasure and Afro-surrealist storytelling all examined through mesmeric editorials, critical essays and photography features. Inside, you’ll find interviews with London-based doctor and writer Samara Linton, a conversation between artists Krista Franklin and Hamed Maiye and a roundtable discussion on sex and sexuality as African women. Finally, the issue features a visual feast of hyperrealistic paintings from Calida Rawles, also seen on the cover.
Photo: POSTSCRIPT London
I discovered Alexander, the new digital storytelling app, at the end of last year and promptly found myself engrossed by the multi-format offerings it features. Each story has an audio option often narrated by a recognisable voice (Helena Bonham Carter, David Tennant and Sope Dirisu to name a few). It also features a film for each story, full of stunning visuals and hypnotic music. Beautifully curated, it offers a new intriguing and immersive literary experience and requires your full attention to appreciate it.
The V&A’s Africa Fashion exhibition
Described as ‘a story of fashion as a self-defining art form; a kind of movement culture that goes beyond individual garments to encompass attitude, gesture, style’, Africa Fashion will explore the impact of socio-political changes occurring from the mid-to-late 50s to 1994, a period encompassing the decolonisation of Africa and the subsequent re-emergence of traditional art and design cultures, on fashion. Taking an expansive approach, the exhibition will also feature works from innovative contemporary designers, fashion photographers and stylists working in Africa and influencing the larger global industry today. Keep an eye out for tickets soon as the exhibition is scheduled to run from June 2022 until April 2023.
Photo: Untitled by Hamidou Maiga, 1973. Museum no. E.305-2012. Gift of Jack Bell Gallery, London. Copyright of the artist, courtesy of Jack Bell Gallery.