The Abiyamo Film
The Abiyamo Film is a 22-minute visual poetry album that uses poetry, sculpture, and music to explore the complexities of daughter-mother relationships.
It was shot handheld on an iPhone 12. The sculptures, their floral headpieces, and many of the props in the film were all hand-made.
The film is a collaboration between three black women in three different locations, and across two continents, powered by friendship, creativity and the internet.
The Abiyamo was shot in the 2020-2021 pandemic.
The film made its debut at the Blackness Is...Arts Festival in Minneapolis, MN in May 2021
The Abiyamo Film features seven poems from the poetry collection, "The Sun Was Made from Dark Things," which is inspired by real stories and relationships. One challenge in the creating the film was figuring out how to capture that humanness visually. I stumbled on a fashion exhibit online that used custom mannequins to display dresses and decided that to represent the women behind each poem with actual body forms.
I created the six sculptures featured in the film using duct tape and six friends as literal molds. It was important to me to use real bodies and people because of the breadth of experiences that went into the poetry collection.
My choice to use duct tape was both practical and intentional. Duct tape can be found in almost any hardware store, and thus depicts life's mundanity-the series of small inconsequential parts that add up to a consequential whole. Duct tape also adheres tightly and is used to hold broken things together, which to me, captures the vulnerability relayed in each of the poems.
I chose to leave the bodies headless because although each poem was inspired by someone's real story, it could easily be another person's story.
The fabric headpieces atop the duct tape bodies show that beautiful things often emerge from mundane, hard things: Many suns are made from dark things. Each flower was hand-sewn and made from left-over fabric from clothes my mother has bought me or had made for me in Nigeria over the years. In a way, the ripping of the old, and sewing together into the new, speak to the evolution of our own relationship.
The Abiyamo Film features all original music by Tyné Angela Freeman, who is a vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and author, based in South Carolina, USA. Each track is her own interpretation of the poems, and as such The Abiyamo Film, is a multi-medium interpretation of "The Sun Was Made from Dark Things."
You can find more on her work here.
The Abiyamo Film turned Tolu into an amateur filmmaker. The Abiyamo Film was filmed handheld on an iPhone 12. Tolu Kehinde created the script for the film and shot all scenes using props from her apartment, many of which, like the dining table and chopping board in the "I Think We'll Make a Good Muffin" poem she hand-made. The film was at locations around her apartment building, and in a friend's backyard, over two days.
Mohini Ufeli is a multi-media storyteller based in Lagos, Nigeria. She sorted through hundreds of video clips and skillfully stitched them together to create The Abiyamo Film. As with Tyné, Mohini's choice on which clips were included in the final film represent her interpretation of the poems in the collection. You can find more on her work here.