AMANDA IHEME

Conceptualization

The body of work presented here teaches a simple lesson that all things created: spaces, people, animals, objects must experience change and eventually, death. As we are willing to create them, enjoy them, grow with them, change with them and use them; we must be willing to let them go.

A lesson that was important for me to learn as this was not the original plan for my work.

My motivation to create this work came from grief. Grief at the death of a building that I held close to my heart because I knew its story, its worth and the possibilities its existence created for those whose ancestors had occupied it as slaves, those who had had reasons to occupy it, and for those who utilized it at that time.

To cope with the loss, I rushed to dedicate my attention, my will and my desire towards preservation of other Afro-Brazilian buildings. I could not protect them physically but I could preserve their memories through images. My camera was the power that I had and it was their story I was going to spend my time telling with hope that it will change the way people related with these old buildings.

What a noble idea but how wrong that path was for me.

For the harder I tried to sustain that narrative, the farther into nowhere I got.

For weeks, I was in a state of stagnation. No activity, no growth, no development. My frustration led me to ask for help from a human that I wish to consider a good friend who pointed me in the right direction which caused me to reflect upon the purpose of this work, the narrative and images of buildings that I had taken in the past.

I learnt that I had to forgive the ignorance of my people and let go of my loss to be able to see clearly. I redefined my narrative and narrowed down my choices from many historical buildings that I wished to preserve to six buildings and a few objects that taught me about the way of life from birth to change to death and the power of letting go.

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