MOTHER TONGUES is a poetry, translation and film series celebrating acclaimed poets of colour alongside the cultures, languages and women that have nurtured them. After having their mothers translate their work into their mother’s native language, poets and mothers are filmed in intimate conversation before each reciting a version of the poem.

The featured poets and languages are Theresa Lola (Yoruba), Tania Nwachukwu (Igbo), Belinda Zhawi (Shona) and Victoria Adukwei Bulley (Ga). The four films will premiere at Rivington Place Gallery on July 26th 2017.
MOTHER TONGUES is created and directed by London-based poet and artist Victoria Adukwei Bulley, generously supported by Arts Council England and Autograph ABP.



Producer & Director – Victoria Adukwei Bulley
Assistant Director – Elliot Bulley (http://www.chaoscreative.co.uk)
Camera – Elliot Bulley, Mark Hannant
Sound – Elliot Bulley
Editing – Elliot Bulley, Victoria Adukwei Bulley
Music by Chris Zabriskie, Creative Commons License


Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a British-born Ghanaian poet and writer; the producer and director of MOTHER TONGUES. A former Barbican Young Poet, her work has been commissioned by the Royal Academy of Arts in addition featuring on BBC Radio 4. She was shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2016, and is a fellow of the acclaimed poetry mentorship programme, The Complete Works. Her debut pamphlet, Girl B, edited by Kwame Dawes, forms part of the 2017 New-Generation African Poets series. MOTHER TONGUES is her filmmaking debut.

Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean-born writer, educator and resident of London. A co-founder and host of the bi-monthly poetry social, BORN::FREE, she has performed across the UK in numerous venues, festivals and events including at Africa Writes, Bestival and TATE, in addition to featuring on Channel 4’s Random Acts. Belinda was a 2015/16 London Laureate and 2016/17 Institute of Contemporary Arts Associate Poet. She is currently working on her debut pamphlet collection.

Theresa Lola is a British Nigerian poet. She was shortlisted for the 2016 Bridport Poetry Prize and 2016 London Magazine Poetry Prize. She is a Barbican Young Poet alumni. She is a member of the Octavia poetry collective for women of colour, headed by Rachel Long. Alongside Inua Ellams, she co-runs RAP Party, a night of poetry and Hip Hop. She won the 2017 Hammer and Tongue National Slam.

Tania Nwachukwu is a British-born Nigerian writer, poet and performer from London. She is a member of both the Octavia poetry collective and the Barbican Young Poets, and the assistant creative director for the African dance company Adanta. She has performed in venues across the UK and West Africa. Tania is also the co-founder of Black in the Day, an open-submission archive of photos documenting the black British experience.

Irenosen Okojie is a writer and Arts Project Manager. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for an Edinburgh International First Book Award. She was selected by Ben Okri as an exciting talent. Her short stories have been published internationally including Salt’s Best British Short Stories, Kwani?, and Year’s Best Weird Fiction. Her short story collection, Speak Gigantular is shortlisted for the Edgehill Short Story Prize, was shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize, the Saboteur Awards and nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award.

Emma Dabiri is a social historian, writer and broadcaster. Her first book A History of Hair will be published by Penguin in 2018. Emma is a teaching fellow in the Africa Department at the School of Oriental and African Studies and is currently completing her PhD in Visual Sociology in the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths. Emma also works as a TV presenter, presenting social history films for The BBC One Show. She presented Back in Time Brixton for BBC2 which broadcast in November 2016 as part of the BBCs Black British Season. A freelance writer widely published in the national press, Emma’s work is draws upon and contributes to African Studies, sociology, history, film, literature, theatre, and music. Emma is also currently working as a research assistant on a two year AHRC funded fellowship investigating Contemporary ‘Africa Rising’ narratives in historical perspectives.