The History of the black and female body in western art remains gloriously disruptive. The tantalizing nature of the gaze turns the mundane into the erotic, into the fetish, into the grotesque. My mother, whom I have photographed is the Venus of Dolní Věstonice. She is the archetype of womanhood; she is full, buxom, beautiful and enduring. She is the rescued and reclaimed representation we have of the prehistoric 'Mother'. She is the only Mother I will know.
I photograph my mother and she strengthens our relationship, the images are a collaboration. My mother as subject is active in her own representation, showing me the fundamental questions of life and presence that I have either been too scared to ask or to blind too see. She shows us exactly who she is!.
The story of her body shows us our story and our history, but also the oblivion that we are all accomplice too; the strong matriarchal presence emanates by all pores, standing strong despite the colonial, patriarchal, youthful gaze.
Despite the scars of the dominant discourse's disfiguring stare and the historical legacy of abuse and pain that has been inflicted on the black women's body, I open a conversation that does not show the casualty of crude stereotypes but instead creates an intergenerational dialogue of an re-inscription of identity and history.
I am not reimagining. I simply show a women's body clearly. I present a real aesthetic that borders slightly on the narcissistic, and challenges the delicate way of looking that lessens the gaze and dispels the normal troupe of race and sex that exists in identity formation.
I return the contemporary audience to a space of ancestral reverence and cultural commemoration, acknowledging the centrality of the ancestral presence in the construction of the contemporary photographic portrait of identity.
My Mother is a Black British subject. Born when the British owned Jamaica and now living in the United Kingdom.
She has asked me to photograph her so that she may be remembered by her future generations.
She is aware of how important the image is to show oneself.
My Mother is 78