Skip to content
A black and white photograph of a black man lying down with a hand on his bare chest and a hand palm up placed on the pillow beside his head.

Black Audio Film Collective

Twilight City

The Douglas Hyde is delighted to present the second of the screenings of Art from the African Diaspora as part of Alice Rekab’s multi-platform project FAMILY LINES, Black Audio Film Collective’s film Twilight City (1989). This seminal film uses a fictional letter from a woman to her mother considering a return to London, to create a framework for historians, activists, and journalists to elaborate their complex relationships to the city, personal memories and historical events. It is a powerful meditation on Lon­don, on being black, on Thatcherism, on exile and on abandonment.

Considering the legacy of Twilight City, Alice Rekab has written a short text to accompany this film. Love me and Don’t Forget me explores the film’s resonance within the artist’s own experience of living in London as a mixed-race Irish migrant and their continued relationship with the emotional and physical geography of the city.

Love me and Don’t Forget me

There is no Sierra Leone High Commission in Dublin.

Coming back to London after so long was a kind of reckoning with memory and geography and time. I had been trapped in a slow time – inconsistent with other times, out of joint with peers – for every year I was away I only healed a week, for every month spent moving in another world a day passed. The hurt got further away and would seem gone only to arrest me touching down again – while taking a train or turning a particular corner. Half memory, half regret. The dream life of a migrant starting out. Building a life. And how the worlds inside and out conspired to stop me in my tracks.

As I walked along the curve of The Oval I remembered how I used to cry all the way home. 

How I’d call my dad and just cry. London you were never habitable but I lived in you for 7 years.

You offered me my first experience of really not being special, of people like me being everywhere, a respite from the isolation of exception that structured and coded the way I grew up and moved in public space in Dublin. I was no longer the only one with a Black dad and I was not the only one with an Irish mum either.

I remember telling my dad I heard Krio on the bus to Peckham, that they sold palm oil and cassava in the corner shop that you could buy ‘pepe’ anywhere.

The walk back there is full of sorrow and is hard to navigate. There is a broken platform leading to the door and a stairway that all the iron work has nearly rotted out of.

You told me as we walked through town that in London the ironworks were all smelted into bullets in the war.

War is part of the landscape, the warrior tomb, the ironless gates, now just standing leaning, pieces of stone. I reached for balance, having leant in that direction for so long, it was something I felt missing from my structure, it was something I was trying to replace. A sea mineral, a shell, a home, loving food, a place to go.

I no longer get to pass the threshold. It’s engraved with spirals and symbols, figures I’m not sure of. I can run my hand along the outside but never understand.

And I still think about coming back to you, a dream of starting over, of you/me somehow being changed.

When I’m underground I can feel the places above me, places that have now been levelled. My old London is razed to the ground, there is a 50,000 square meter hole there now, full of machinery and pools of rain. 

Moving at night along pathways I used to follow like an animal across an open field, worn tracks, not in grass but inside me. Habits. Furrows of grief and furrows of learning- one foot in front of the other for days and days. But when I look into your face you do not recognise me. 

Love me and don’t forget me – as if love could guard against forgetting. 

 

Alice Rekab, November 2021

About Twilight City
About the Artists
Credits

Current Events

The Quickening
Creative Labs

As a part of Deirdre O’Mahony’s ground-breaking exhibition, The Quickening, The Douglas Hyde is thrilled to introduce a series of dynamic Creative Labs. The Creative Labs aim to ignite collective imagination and action in response to the pressing challenges of food production, farming, and the climate crisis. Each Lab will be designed to investigate innovation […]

Joanna Walsh
the feast

Enter the feast, a walkthrough game by Joanna Walsh that responds to Deirdre O’Mahony’s work, The Quickening, which examines the issues facing farming, food production and consumption in the face of present ecological and climate crises. Using the words of invitees to two feasts staged by Deirdre O’Mahony, the feast invites readers to explore ideas, […]

A close up of a Dung Beetle
Deirdre O'Mahony
Reading List

Each Wednesday, from April 3, we will share highlights from Deirdre O’Mahony’s literary and academic inspirations. Over the course of 12 weeks, uncover a weekly gem from the artist’s library, each book having played a pivotal role in shaping her research and creative processes for The Quickening project. These carefully selected recommendations will be available […]

Upcoming Events

Gabriel Coleman
THE INSTITUTE

THE INSTITUTE is a collaborative storytelling card game where players assume the role of delegates convening at a powerful and prestigious Institute to address an urgent issue. Throughout the course of the game, players collectively determine what that issue is, how the Institute aims to address it, and all the office politics in between. Based […]

Alisha Doody
Seeds of Thought: Letters to the Future of Farming and Food in The Quickening

Seeds of Thought is a collaborative workshop that invites participants to engage deeply with The Quickening, a multilayered artwork focused on the crucial themes of food sustainability, farming, and the future of food production. Through the introspective and creative process of letter writing, attendees will communicate directly with the envisioned future, the farmers, the landscapes, […]

The Quickening
Eat Food Policy Workshop

As part of Deirdre O’Mahony’s The Quickening exhibition engagement programme, The Douglas Hyde is delighted to present the Eat Food Policy Workshop, a generative event responding to the urgent need for a multidisciplinary approach to food production, farming, and the climate crisis. Guest scientists, farmers, food producers and policymakers from the community are invited to propose topics for discussion […]

Art & Ideas

Artists present us with new perspectives on the world we live in. Explore the exciting ideas behind our programmes, hear more from the artists we work with and discover new ways of engaging with art.

Art & Ideas into your inbox