Whether we were born here or there, many of us have grown up in two or more distinct and sometimes conflicting cultures. With pressure to assimilate to the customs of our new land and desire to connect with the languages, traditions and people of our homelands, we are caught in new and complicated territory: we are hybrids. I’ve always been taught that being a hybrid means you are a combination of the all the things that make you, equally belonging to each of those identities. But in practice, I often feel that I am neither--not enough of here and not enough of there. In 2014, I began "Daughters of Diaspora" as an attempt to make sense of the multifaceted identity that arises from being a Third World daughter in a First World country.
The intersection of being black, Nigerian and Canadian has led me through a unique experience of Otherness. As I shifted through these spaces, I learned that I was never enough of any single identity to wholly and indisputably belong. As such, I’ve used art as the vehicle to create a new space for myself and others alike.
“Daughters of Diaspora” was illustrated on toned paper with acrylic paint, art markers, chalk and pens. The collection enables me to celebrate the beauty of various features, while challenging what it means to “look African”.
In May 2016, I published here and there: Daughters of Diaspora, an art book consisting of the first twenty portraits, creative prose and a foreword by SUNU Journal founder and editor Amy Sall. Collectively, these written and visual pieces aimed to explore the complex interactions between race, cultural identification and assimilation.
Photographs by Art of Effah.