This collective body of work titled Magharibi – Swahili for the navigation point west of the sun, signals both a geographical location and a sense of routing towards a particular direction. I’m referencing an aspirational journey out of Africa toward the western world, divulging the black body’s experiences of movement across borders and the aftermath of situating oneself in a non-native space. The work speaks to present day construction of the African Diaspora and the influence of place and historical memory upon one’s identity.
In Magharibi, Black and white portraits of African migrants residing in Tucson are juxtaposed with color landscape images from Tanzania, featuring a repetitive motif of stand-alone native plants engulfed in red earth toned dust. These allude to the materiality of geography commonly seen in Africa while simultaneously flattening the continent by presenting it as a homogenous location. Paired alongside the de-contextualized migrant portraits brings forth a consideration of absence of place, likewise lending visibility to this community while suggesting an additional narrative of the inhabitants of the American west.