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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye on Glenn Ligon’s ‘Warm Broad Glow’

‘Take the heat and the breadth and the air and the life and the longing and land it in your own back garden’

Glenn Ligon, Warm Broad Glow, 2005, paint and neon, 10 × 122 cm. Courtesy: the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

Glenn Ligon, Warm Broad Glow, 2005, paint and neon, 10 × 122 cm. Courtesy: the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

take the heat and the breadth and the air and the life and the longing,
and land it where the sun would shine best.
Where the sight that plucks it would smile and bask,
And don’t ask me to tell you.

take note and give me that extra hour of winter, daylight-saving
and land that where the sun would shine best
where the sound that wraps it would amplify and howl.
And don’t ask me to play for you.

take flight with the ospreys and follow them fast to foreign climes
and once there, land where the sun would shine best
Where the hands that feed have no mind to throttle.
And don’t ask me to crow to you.
take the next right and walk south-facing through the park
and there, lay next to the rose bush, where the sun would shine best.
Where the perfume that chokes you would soothe another
And don’t ask me to wait with you.

Take the heat and the breadth and the air and the life and the longing
and land it in your own back garden
and at the base of your skull
and against the screen of your television set
and in the dull, damp patch beside you in bed
And in all the other places where the sun doesn’t shine.

Like where the devil dug a whole deep and wide enough for two
And don’t ever ask me anything again

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is an artist based in London, UK. Her work is featured in the 57th Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA, until 25 March. This year, she will have solo exhibitions at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, USA, and at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA.

Issue 200

First published in Issue 200

January - February 2019
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