Tomiwa Folorunso (Executive Producer) and Natasha Thembiso Ruwona (Director) draw on Maud Sulter’s 1988 essay ‘Call and Response’ to reflect on the making of maud. (2022).

 

I don’t want to write a call,
or a response.

It feels like a pressure, an expectation. I do not want this. I would quite simply like to just be.

 

A call and response might be to ask and receive an answer, to exchange and listen.

 

To ask and receive seems entitled. But perhaps then like many things, it’s one of context, who is being asked, and who is receiving. To exchange and listen. This feels different – caring, less ego, less extraction, more mutuality. A willingness, to learn, to know more, to do better, to be told one may be wrong, and to be told one may be right.

Do you think Maud realised how brave she was? How brave she is. A bravery that transcends. Words spoken or written before we were born resonate in the now. On the surface it seems incredible but underneath should scare and sadden us, because if things had changed then her words would speak to what used to be, a past we couldn’t understand, not a present we can.

Brave then and brave of now, that is Maud. Oh how little has changed.

 

A braveness carried through and across truths, the bravery to name this knowing. She speaks to us – how little has changed – we speak of her, Maud Sulter.

It is through Maud I’ve found collaboration, and met collectivity. The co-authorship of a project that is me yet more than me – it extends beyond and becomes us, we, them, ours. I have learned how love can form the foundations of work, through friendship. As ‘co-conspirators’ to use Maud’s words, we have developed a space to share not only ourselves but an exchange that is grounded in passion, nurtured in respect and trust, an exchange of knowledge and experiences.

A co-conspirator. That’s who you are to me, and I am to you, I think. Conspirator seems apt because at the beginning when it was you and I silently whispering the thoughts and ideas that would become this, it felt impossible. To conspire was the only way. It is the only way.

And our gang of conspirators grew. Unexpected collaborations which remind me that it’s always bigger than us. It’s grounded in our shared but individual experiences. We have each stood on an edge, desperately searching for anything that we could hold to ground ourselves, to grow from.

 

Individually, together, we held imagination at the forefront of what we do, and what we have done.

A space of and for joy to become and breathe. A space to dream;

But what conditions are required for dreaming? It is difficult. To dream anew we need to face the world as it is, and to confront ourselves.

This silence you mention makes room for tuning in, being in this body, in this place that we call home. In this space of togetherness.

 

Joy. We laughed a lot. I think that’s what I loved about the making of maud. It was hard, and we were holding so much; histories, anger, resilience, sadness, all the heavy stuff. And we held each other with laughter, not to brush over the pain but because, I think, there was an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

Grateful to have found one another and Maud. Grateful to make a film, to play with, and stretch each of our creative practices, individually and collaboratively. And then to contribute to her memory, to add to her archive through our lens.

 

‘Being written out of history can happen to you.’

She knew of the dangers of visibility and the difficulties of archiving ourselves and each other. Maud was written out of Scottish history for so long, with only fragments of her life and work scattered behind institutional walls, her memory alive in those who knew her and who began the process of excavating these traces.

Through absence, I learned of Maud Sulter. In that space between uncertainty and knowing. I wonder about the possibility of being in a state of discontent which pushes you to challenge what is all around you. It welcomes bravery, because what is the alternative?

1) Sulter, ‘Call and Response’, 601.

 

 

‘Yes being visible can be dangerous. But being invisible eats away at your soul.’

I am both visible and invisible. Constantly wrestling between the two. Unsure which hill to climb. Maud suggests that it’s harder to be invisible, but I am not sure. Because being visible also eats away at your soul, or rather, it’s crushed down, so lightly at first and then you blink and it’s almost gone. So you must retreat, you must go inside yourself, to find the silence and tune in.

When you see yourself you realise how very few see you with such clarity, and so it feels as if you have no choice, but to force yourself out, and to become visible again.
When we made maud. I don’t think we were visible or invisible. We were the co-conspirators of our own path(s).

 

I am thinking about desire in relation to creativity. How desire is intrinsically linked to making – to create in response to the absence, or as a response to what we see, experience and know.

I think that we held Maud’s bravery close to us, guiding us throughout the project, as our own desires to hold a space for her legacy became real. This film is a labour of love which places ourselves and each other very much in the landscape that is Scotland – a conversation with the land. ‘No one will document our future but us’ she writes.

Returning to collectivity – we are the past, present and future.

 

‘As I have outlined, there are traces of a presence scattered like cowrie shells in sand. Signposts that indicate a past where we tried to transcend the labels of ‘otherness’ which left no place for the exploration of who we were as individuals, as family, as collectives across divisions.’

Natasha, I think we made a cowrie shell.

2) Sulter, Thin Black Line(s), p. 23.
3) Sulter, ‘Call and Response’, 600.1

Biography

Himid, L, et al 2011, Thin Black Line(s), Making Histories Visible Project, UCLan Centre For Contemporary Art, Preston.
Sulter, M. (2021) ‘Call and Response’, Art History Special Issue: Rethinking British Art: Black Artists and Modernism, 44 (3), 598-602.

This year marks the launch of Govanhill Baths’ second Black History Month celebration. Join us from the 24th – the 28th of October for a week-long programme of events that we are running as part of Black History Month.

This year’s programme is a celebration of the lives and accomplishments of BME communities in Glasgow. As well as a highlight of the structural inequalities which operate on many different levels – personal, social and institutional and the effect this has on the lives of BME communities.

Talk: Angela Davis Women, Race and Class

When: Tuesday 24 October, 6.30pm

Where: The Deep End, 21 Nithsdale St, Glasgow G41 2PZ

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” – Angela Davis

In this event, Ruby Hirsch, activist and member of Stand Up to Racism Glasgow, joins us for a talk about African American political thinker and activist who was once on the FBI’s most wanted list, Angela Davis.

Davis, has been a leading anti-racist as well as a leading anti-capitalist during a time in the USA when any semblance of radical thought could get you fired from your job, thrown in prison or worse.

Described as the godmother of intersectionality, Davis’ writing, particularly her book Women, Race and Class has had an enormous impact on debates in antiracist theory. But it is her active involvement in the struggle for civil rights and against all oppression and exploitation that shapes and informs Davis’ thinking – her amazing story and her important ideas are invaluable for anyone challenging racism and capitalism today.

Book a ticket here

 

Book Talk: Making the Black Jacobins

When: Wednesday 25 October, 6.30pm

Where: The Deep End, 21 Nithsdale St, Glasgow G41 2PZ

Rachel Douglas, who works in Caribbean literature, history, film, visual art, and archives at the University of Glasgow joins us to discuss her book ‘Making The Black Jacobins’.

C. L. R. James’s, the Black Jacobins remains one of the great works of the twentieth century and the cornerstone of Haitian revolutionary studies.

Douglas’ book traces the transformation and afterlives of the Black Jacobins  landmark work across the decades from the 1930s on through close examination of his manuscripts, notes, interviews, and other texts—showing how James continuously rewrote and revised his history of the Haitian Revolution as his politics and engagement with Marxism evolved. This is a talk not to be missed by anyone interested in Caribbean and world history, particularly those interested in James’s ‘bottom-up history’.

Book a ticket here

 

No Permission Needed: A Celebration of Black Culture

When: Thursday 26th October, 6.30pm

Where: The Deep End, 21 Nithsdale St, G41 2PZ

Join us for an evening celebrating Black culture, exploring creative expression and asking what it looks like and means to be Black in Scotland today. A jam-packed evening of performances, including a piece from actor Hannah Jacobs, poetry from Hazel Peters, music from Shamie Zvandasara , and a screening of Simone Seales short film ‘Nothing Between (Black Women’s Joy and Liberation)’ Everyone welcome! 

In collaboration with No Permission Needed Zine and contributors, this event seeks to bring people together to show that there is an amazing creative and anti-racist movement which is beautiful, proud and challenging the narrative.

Book a ticket here

 

Film Screening and Q&A: Expensive Sh*t

When: Friday 27 October, 6.30pm

Where: The Deep End, 21 Nithsdale St, Glasgow G41 2PZ

We are delighted that Adura Onashile, actor, playwright, and director, will join us to screen her short film Expensive Sh*t. Onashile wrote and directed the 2013 play Expensive Sh*t and adapted it into a film in 2020.

Winner of the Best Short Film at the 2021 BAFTA Scotland Awards, the audience and the critics award at the Glasgow International Film Festival, as well as The Scottish Audience Award and The Jury Award at the 2021 Glasgow Short Film Festival.

In a Glasgow nightclub, Tolu, a Nigerian toilet attendant desperate for survival, manipulates the behaviour of unsuspecting women for the titillation of men watching behind the mirrors. But tonight, a line has been crossed, and as the night spins out of control, Tolu has to find the strength to change everything. Expensive Sh*t is a fictional story inspired by real events at The Shimmy Club in Glasgow, which was forced to remove one-way mirrors from its women’s toilets.

The screening will be followed by a short Q&A discussing some of the themes of sexual exploitation and precarious work which are addressed in the film. Expensive Sh*t is produced by barry crerar, developed through the Scottish Film Talent Network programme and co-funded by BBC Films.

Please be aware that this film contains themes of sexual exploitation.

Book a ticket here

 

Film Screening: Maud.

When: Saturday 28 October, 6pm

Where: The Deep End, 21 Nithsdale St, Glasgow G41 2PZ

We are thrilled to invite you to a screening of Maud. This short film is a call to celebrate the life and work of the Scottish-Ghanaian artist Maud Sulter (1960 – 2008) who grew up in the Gorbals, Glasgow.

Through conversations with Black artists making art in Scotland we consider Maud’s memory and reflect on her contributions to excavating history, challenging world politics, and community-building.

In addition to this screening, and for this Black History Month programme, the film’s director Natasha Ruwona and its executive producer Tomiwa Folorunso, have written a letter, in-conversation with each other, which will be available at the screening paying homage to this trailblazing Scottish-Ghanaian artist, and her significance on multiple fronts – as a Black Scottish, Black British, African, Ghanaian, queer, working class and female artist – whose extremely diverse output of artistry; writing, image-making, curating, filmmaking, and sound has until recently largely gone uncelebrated.

Book a ticket here

 

Workshop: A Guided Response to A Quiet Fire

When: Saturday 28th October, 11:30am

Where: Tramway, 25 Albert Dr, Glasgow G41 2PE

This workshop is led by Beulah Ezeugo and is a response to Billie Zangewa’s “A Quiet Fire”. This workshop is exclusively for BPOC who take work by black queer and feminist thinkers into consideration in their daily lives.

Billie Zangewa is a Malawian artist who creates intricate, hand-stitched silk collages exploring objectification, self-fashioning, racial stereotyping and constructions of identity.

We will explore the artwork through shared observation and engaging in a deliberate, collective reflection within the gallery’s space. The workshop will also involve working together to create a collaborative tapestry.

Book a ticket here

 

All events are free but ticketed.
For enquires about accessibility, transport budget and more email: festival@govanhillbaths.com
Through the Looking Glass

These questions are linked to the intrinsic role of the arts as providers of visibility. Arts transform the meaning of objects and actions by contextualising elements within human problems, bringing to the surface what was previously invisible.

Stylised image of young woman with arm aloft dancing. Text reads: Govanhill International Carnival and Festival.

We’re delighted to announce the programme for our annual Govanhill International Festival & Carnival!

Now in our seventh year, we’re thrilled to bring you a programme of events fusing together art, heritage and community activism. This two-week long showcase of music, talks, walks, film, art exhibitions and workshops is a testament to the amazing cultural, ethnic and religious diversity that exists right here in Govanhill.

The richness of our flourishing arts and culture scene proves that our multiculturalism and heritage is what makes Govanhill such a unique part of glasgow and is why we’re so proud to live here and call this community ours! The festival may have grown in scale and size over the years, but at its heart, it will always be an anti-racist festival. Every year, we will continue to celebrate the contributions that immigrants have made to Govanhill, showing that there is no room for racism in our community.

We’re delighted to be able to say that the Govanhill Parade and Carnival will be making a colourful return and the parade promises to be a much-needed and urgent show of anti-racist unity against division and the scapegoating of migrants for a crisis they aren’t to blame for. The Carnival and Parade stands as a statement from the people of Govanhill and across Glasgow, that we take pride in our diversity. We’ll be marching in solidarity, stating loudly and visibly to anyone who doubts it, that everyone is welcome here!

Click to view the full programme.

‘Ya Dancer’, Mark Bleakley and partners from Dixon Community, Govanhill.

Culture Collective

‘Maybe that was now’ was published by the Govanhill Baths Culture Collective artists, August 2021.

Felipe Bustos Sierra: Biog

Jude Mckechnie: Biog

Mina Heydari-Waite: Biog

Paria Goodarzi

Paria Goodarzi: Biog