V: »Do you ever think of the sacrifices you made to become a mother?«
V: »You could have stayed and advanced your career and achieved so much.«
Mama: »I couldn’t have stayed away from you, besides, looking at you right now, you are by far my greatest achievement.«
My mother and I had a conversation reflecting on what it meant to be black and African – how to her, sacrifices were seen as a part of life, assimilation done so subconsciously – because without assimilation there is no success.
I made this artwork as a dedication to her – pictured in her clothes – trying to capture the visual essence of a »great achievement.« I transform into a magical genie, manifested by her but yet our lived experiences are never touching. She stands on the parallel street, unseen – I hold the keys of education, of global opportunities – of apparent boundless possibility.
The long wait refers to Samuel Beckett’s existential play, »Waiting for Godot;« the act of waiting in itself although being a powerless act, is still a transformational one. How long has my mother waited … how long must I wait? I am at the bus stand, disappearing and reappearing into myself – a half of two worlds, and somewhere in between. I hold the key, not only for myself, but everyone else who was waiting here before me.
We are histories. We are hybrids.
We are futures.
Valerie Asiimwe Amani is an artist, writer, curator, and art educator born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Her multi-disciplinary approach incorporates textile, poetry, moving image, and digital collage; experimenting with notions of memory, hybrid spirituality, and the complexities of the body. Her work has been featured in various international exhibitions and publications; including The Main Complaint at the Zeitz Mocaa and Magician: Black Bodies and Portraiture at the FFCA in Los Angeles.