Monankim is a word from the language of the Bakor people, a group of minority tribes from Cross River State, Nigeria. It refers to the process through which a girl is circumcised and celebrated as entering into womanhood. It is celebrated as a right of passage. A Monankim must be between the age of 14 and 18 and must be a virgin, after circumcision she is then held in a fattening room where she heals and recovers and is later presented to the community. She is idolised as a symbol of purity, a sexually mature woman who has remained a maiden, she is the pride of her family and a newly available and desirable wife. However, the rite of passage is not without its dangers. There are those who do not survive the circumcision, as the bleeding can be severe. For those who avoid that fate, the healing process takes place in the fattening room where the Monankim is accompanied, cared for and well fed by her female family members and friends. It is after two weeks that she is presented to the community and the celebration takes place.
The project was realised after extensive interviews with young women some of whom where frightened at the prospect while others seemed excited and looked forward to their own time.
‘Monankim’ is a depiction of the artist’s contrasting traditional values, being from one of the minority tribes of the Bakor herself. The ritual is now highly controversial and stigmatised.