In her final creation for this months residency, Nicky Arscott presents her fabulous collaboration with Eric Ngalle Charles.
Eric Ngalle Charles is a writer, poet and playwright, originally from Cameroon and now settled in Wales. This year Ngalle was one of the Hay 30 new generation thinkers at the Hay festival, where he performed his play, My Mouth Brought Me Here, which explores themes of migration, language, freedom of expression and dictatorship. He runs Black Entertainment Wales, an arts organisation that provides a platform for artists in the BMEs communities to showcase their work.
I met Ngalle earlier this year when he ran a writer’s workshop, and we have since read our poetry together at Chapter in Cardiff. We agreed that I would make a comic based on one of the poems I heard him perform. I really wanted to do it justice, and I ended up starting again several times over. I felt like I didn’t really know what I was doing until I asked Ngalle who it was that was ‘wailing’. He replied, ‘I heard their wailings first as rumours. It is what remains when “two elephants fight, the grass suffers” essentially the wailings comes from victims of circumstances.’ Understanding this allowed me to see Ngalle’s poem as not only the experience of one, but of many, and I think that is what makes it so powerful.