At the 2019 Lagos International Poetry Festival, the Ghanaian-British poet Victoria Adukwei Bulley screened her film, Mother Tongues, “a poetry, translation and film series celebrating acclaimed poets of colour alongside the cultures, languages and women that have nurtured them.” Bulley’s poetry has been shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize, featured on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and in The Poetry Review, and commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts.
The project, supported by Arts Council England and Autograph ABP and started in 2017, has Bulley as producer, director, and co-editor, and her sibling Elliot Bulley as assistant director in charge of shooting and, with Mark Hannant, sound.
Two episodes, focused on Bulley and Belinda Zhawi, were screened at the festival. In both, the poets’ mothers translate their daughters’ poems into their native languages. The first episode features the translated and original versions of Bulley’s poem “Terminal Index.”
The second episode features the translated and original versions of Zhawi’s poem “Reasons for Leaving Home.”
For more on Mother Tongues, check out Bulley’s interviews with OkayAfrica, Poetry Translation, and Dandano.