DREAMS FROM THE DEEP END
Art / Current Issues
Art is about being stirred – identifying creatively with an idea and responding to something which is there to engage us. The film "Dreams from the Deep End" follows Nigerian artist Modupeola Fadugba as she paints NYC's only 55+ African American synchronized swim team, Harlem Honeys and Bears. Harlem is synonymous with renaissance and reconstruction and indeed this is a story of rebirth. Historically, the black community would not have had access to swimming pools and neither the opportunity to learn to swim, so there is a lot of power in this narrative and what it signifies.Directed by Guto Barra & Tatiana Issa the film showcases Modupeola's work looking at identity, social justice and cultural hierarchy. It’s an exquisite body of work displayed in a mellow space of walls painted blue, infused with gold-leaf and the burn marks which she later connects back to impressions of the ravaged buildings she saw in war-torn Rwanda as a child. Her research covers Jeff Wiltse’s “Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools” and looks at historical racial segregation in America’s communal swimming pools. Aside from the work itself, Fadugba’s personal story is a compelling one. Born in Nigeria to UN diplomat parents, she grew up in the United States and Rwanda, is Harvard-educated, and has a background in economics and engineering. Plunging into the water to the applause of family members also symbolized the high dive head first into a new career as an artist.