Underlying my work is the desire to learn more about empathy, sympathy, and compassion, and to convey these human traits in a way that impacts lives. My choice of subject is rooted in intuition and is propelled by a reflective desire to understand myself as a young black woman. As I document stories of black women in their environments, I’m intrigued by our similarities, differences, what lies beneath our smiles, what dreams are kept hidden.
Mine is not to simply document black women and their struggles but rather, to tell our truths as honestly as possible, to be inclusive of our diverse realities and to expand on the narrative that currently characters the public image of “The Black Woman.”
The Quiet Strength is a photo project looking at the women at Yeoville Market. This project was drawn from my personal experience of being raised by a woman who used to be a street trader herself. Many African women in developed and developing countries are street vendors selling fruits, vegetables and cooked food. While those with craftsman skills sell bags, hats, African prints, clay pots and other handcrafted products. These women work under extremely poor conditions while accepting low returns, working extremely long hours in hostile spaces.
Amongst all of this, there is a beautiful narrative, a narrative I call “Quiet Strength”. It is their quiet strength that informs this body of work. It is a strength that I see in my mother and her dignified perception of hard work. Through these compositions and the truth in natural lines, I attempt to capture a sliver of their stories, as they are, where they are and where they come from.