Exploring the Nowannago

A collaboration as part of Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle's Kentrifica Project. Hinkle conducted extensive research and recreated an artifact called the Nowannago to be used as a symbol of navigating the historical present. The Nowannago is akin to the Oroborus, the serpent that eats its tale within ancient Egyptian mythology. The fight with time, spatiality and social dynamics creates a never-ending cycle in which oppositional parties have to grapple with their issues.

The exhibition Exploring The Nowannago: Kentifrican Modes of Resistance serves as an ongoing stage and installation for video and performance featuring Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and Tyler Matthew Oyer. This body of work involves a Kentifrican narrative that provides a social critique of how we are chained to the residue of the past and how bodies that are deemed the “other” through labels of queerness, racial constructions and gender constructions are treated.

A tug of war will ensue during the performance in which the Nowannago will be used to illustrate the complex push and pull of realities within historical and contemporary hegemonic impulses that seek to condemn bodies that are misunderstood. The Nowannago, the double noose, is an instrument integral to Kentifrican presence in relationship to encounters with cultures that were intrusive and different from their own. The double noose was used as a forced mating ritual between a British or Portuguese trader and a Kentifrican woman. Kentifrica, as geography, has never been formally colonized. Due to a deadly poisonous plant called the Yahwaseen located on the coast of West Kentifrica, discovery was limited to a few small nearly visible ports along the northern and eastern coasts. It was near these ports that Kentifrican individuals found themselves abducted to be a part of the slave trade and brought to North and South America. The noose became known as a Nowannago from few witnesses who managed to escape the deadly game.

The ritual’s rules of engagement were carried out in the following manner:

• A European man and a Kentifrican woman were tied together with a double noose.
• If the Kentifrican woman succeeded in killing her captor she won her freedom.
• If she did not succeed she became the man’s concubine throughout the voyage and upon arrival.

performance at The Getty Museum, 2017

exhibition images from
Exploring The Nowannago: Kentifrican Modes of Resistance at Grand Central Art Center
August 6-October 16, 2016

performance documentation: