Gold Maria Akanbi



When Louise, the Director of Llantarnam Grange asked me to write something about my solo exhibition “Underwater Utopia”, I wasn’t quite sure what to write about. Do I write about the inspiration, my dreams, my fantasies or my reality? Do I make it as academically astute as possible or do I try to be an artist that only lives for the public?


In the end, I decided on the one thing that ties together, not only my intersectional identity but also, the ability to say one thing that has a million meanings – poetry

The Communications


My hands bore and dug
deep into The Earth
Deep Into My Body
Deep into my bones


Splitting apart genes and genomes
Looking through all that was hereditary
and then some… for them.


Those that represented my people
The Favoured One
The Elder
The Warrior Woman
And The Regent


All of them
filled to the brim
With dance and beauty
With knowledge and medicinal magic
With fierce loyalty and animalic grace
With authority and sexuality




The elements had finally all come together


Showing me balance and truth
Representing so much more
Than a fantasy
For I saw the realities of my people through
The meshing of my spiritual calligraphy
And the adire fabric sourced directly


From the sweating palms of those who reside on these lands
I had brought home to me
A Utopia in its full glory.

We Were Not All Kings


I am a daughter of the mountain
Something close to Babel


We carved our worlds into The Earth
Staking claim
And inflating our egos


And yet, even the grandest King in all of Pompeii
Could not stand against the power of nature


And in the same vein,
The grandest King would be nothing but a delusional fool
Without those who create this Kingdom
And sustain it


Imagine, mountains and castles
Standing alone in the sky


The Egyptians
without their workers


Pyramids, on nothing but paper.


We Were Not All Kings
Yes, you needn’t tell my sons and daughters that


For we were far more important you see,
Progressing the culture and sustaining life


If you try to carry the load of a Kingdom by the very top
And neglect the base


Then be ready for the drop.


The fall from grace
As without the foundations of a society
The whole thing
Will crumble
And rot.

The Bissounma Series


We never had
10 commandments


Our pillars of wisdom
were never necessary
Had kept us for an ages past


We were triumphant in our wisdom.
Catering the individualities of a peoples


Giving space to many
To love who they wished
How they wished


There was no ‘culture war’ when Love was concerned


But then they gave us books descended from Abraham


And we forgot our own religion.
We destroyed our own wisdom.


Now to once again find ourselves
it is as if we are archeologists
searching and digging
For lost relics of hope
And enlightenment.


Tell me then,
do you think we will remember who we are?


Will we find these relics and regain our wisdom?


I can only hope so
as those who come after us
need a foundation
that they can dream on.

The Purple Lady & Her Diasporan Wildnerness


We Are The Rage
The Justice


The Time of Chaos
and Confusion.


For we are borne out of both Fire and Water


Burning beneath the Earth


Sweeping across the continent.


Giving nature the justice it deserves.


And so we breathe
For royalty, for the dissenters or for the oligarchs?


Who am I to see.


We stand strong and hold our ground
For those who truly
Fear our thunderous sound.

The Philosopher’s Stones


The Earth was broken up
In hopes
That We could carve out New Worlds for ourselves.


Broken up to source power
No matter the evil it left in its wake


No matter the blood left on our hands.


In order to gain power.


The human beings demise
All held in the hands
Of balls of fire and ice.

4,475 Fathoms


In depth of the layers of consciousness
Permeating my mind


I think of the cities and civilisations
That existed
all through human time
Just like the innumerable symbols
Adorning our knowingness of existence
all through existence


Through every particle of life


AAnd just imagine
If the very best of us
Found a way to survive?


A treasure that was unreachable
A civilisation that un-colonisable


Where one could love whoever
however and how many others however too.


Where one would always find their way
Never lost
But always keeping true


Guided by the combined minds
Of a thousand lifetimes.


Where reaching the apex of one’s enlightenment
Was a simple as seeking out a cavern


Was as reachable as an opening in the side of a mountain…


Oh, can one only imagine?


Where there was no violence
but only offering


And through everything
the supernatural and the mystical occurred
And the mundane, being something
that was never understood or heard.


To capture this Utopia
4,475 fathoms below the sea’s surface
Was all done towards humanity’s service.