Inspired by the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, Blooming in the Whirlwind aims to offer thoughtful, challenging and ultimately hopeful reflections on how we may continue to 'bloom in the whirlwind' of this turbulent year.
The project features an eclectic lineup of nine short films each inspired by a different poem.
Sponsored by Level Ground
"There you go, chopping coriander in a cyclone Squeezing mangoes
in a cyclone
Dabbing your neck with bergamot
You, are the warm front I guess Look at this mess:
Wrought palms Wrought dupattas Jagged branches once alit by the pigeons
Faceplanted awnings no longer fit for their purpose
This morning, your neighbors saunter Instead of Paul
Desmond you dance to the drum of their hammers
Rebuilding, rescaling Coffee in your grip and mangoes on the mind Tendrils of steam flush with cloves, float five stories high
We must be fed, each of us, amidst the mess"
This film was presented in conjunction with ‘Blooming in the Whirlwind’ by Level Ground in October 2020, an experimental film and poetry collaboration, inspired by the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks.
This poem is based on recent events in Kolkata India. Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan was a powerful and catastrophic tropical cyclone that caused widespread damage in Eastern India.
As humans continue to release planet-warming greenhouse gases, the likelihood of tropical cyclone activity will increase.
In my collaboration with the poet Madeleine St John, we talked about our trips in India. She shared her experience questioning her privilege as a white woman and I shared about my journey to India in 2001, through my lens as a woman of color. We discussed perspectives and challenging issues facing its environment and economy. At the same time, I remember noticing many moments and different definitions of enlightenment. From this place of curiosity, memory, and abstraction, I wove colorful and mesmerizing elements from my cultural engagement. And I reflected on the devastating effects of climate change.