The images are from the series ‘The Object of My Gaze’. The images of my mother are derived by discussions and precise instruction – she tells me what she wants to see. She is willingly, but yet unknowingly participating in the debate around, gender, race, body politics, family identity, and postcolonial culture. She has immersed herself in the conversation and I in-turn, have made her responsible for the dialogue across continents, across generations and across cultures for women. She has, so defiantly taken ownership of her body and her self image, and has therefore produced and revealed a legacy that challenges the heavily charged terrain of the black female body.
By collaborating with my mother, these images replaces the hegemonic gaze with relational, generational intimacy. She is control over her body. That is why she is able to reveal it, in such an unequivocal manner. She is telling a story, unfolding it, line by line, so that we too can remember the lines and hence the narration. The story, as most stories do, reveals a metaphor, a lesson to be learned and an explosion of strengths of the character involved. Her body is then to be read like a book. A book that has lessons to be learned and fortunately, we have learnt by looking at the pictures how to read it and understand the story that is being passed to us. She is our teacher. It is not the she is oblivious to the past, it’s just that, she does not give a damn. Her presence is defined by her being present and her willingness to be seen.