Fishing for Wishes

Kambui Olujimi

Fishing for Wishes

Pennies, bell jars, polyurethane, wood, and metal plaques, 11.5 x 97.5 x 40 inches


Living with my father, I’d have to count and wrap pounds of pennies to get groceries, to make neat rolls of admitted hardship, the neater the better. Still some stores refused them as if it was all pretend – play money. When accepted they were cracked open and counted. “We have to make sure it’s all there, not to call you a crook or anything.” And at every purchase I felt as though I’d somehow come up short.

I make wishes every chance I get. As a child I was no different. Once at a fountain in Manhattan it was explained to me, one penny one wish. “Who needs pennies. . .” I explained back, snatching up two handfuls of soggy slimy change. I packed my pockets, threw one back (just in case), and made two wishes. One was to not get caught.

Whether as concrete as food or as ephemeral as wishes, pennies remind me of how fleeting our desires are and the urgency we give to them. Recently, I began making a “Wish Hall of Fame” that charts the course of my life. Fishing for Wishes is comprised of ten wishes from this “Wish Hall of Fame” and thousands of lesser wishes that I have lost over the years