“Affirmation Objects” is an ongoing series of installations and virtual environments that explore the friction between dislocation and descent that leads to a dilemma of social and cultural identity. Expanding upon an influential dissertation in 1939 by E. Franklin Frazier↗ and a study in 1941 by Melville Herskovits↗ that describe how Africans maintained their cultural heritage while developing a feeling of community in the Americas, these pieces build upon a relevant framework for understanding the dispersal of a people from their homeland to a new place.
Reflective Confrontation Regardless of their differing backgrounds, locations and contributions, members of a diaspora generally share an emotional attachment to their hereditary land and connection with one another; face similar difficulties in constructing and developing themselves; are aware of their dispersal and, if conditions allow, of their oppression and estrangement in the nations in which they live. Manifestations of “the African Diaspora” have typically been conceptualized as a shared Black identity created through processes of racialization on a worldwide scale.
Regarding the reshaping of identities, the diaspora experience tends to give birth to individuals who feel uprooted and not genuinely secured to one specific culture, leading to an unwavering sense of vulnerability. This project explores vulnerability through primary themes of fragility and exposure and seeks to communicate the felt experience of being able to face myself with an open and clear heart. I represent vulnerability as a tangible emotion that can be seen through fragile materials and nostalgic patterns that serve as visual elements to obstruct, distract, and protect from the potential of vulnerability by reducing exposure.
One notable measure of the diaspora condition lies in recalling, envisioning, and engaging the original homeland, whose own identity is to a limited extent constituted by and in turn helps constitute the diaspora. Different patterns, inspired by my recollection of the vibrancy of our Lagos home, contrast the rigid presentation that reflects a tendency to be guarded from vulnerability. Combining motion with composition to further illustrate these underlying themes, I explored visual arrangements with varying levels of contrast, obstruction, and revealing and used parallax motion to explore ideas of displacement and dislocation. Enter Virtual Environment↗