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Creation Date



Materials: Brick Clay

Dimensions: Variable

Project Advisor: Meghan Sullivan

Year of Graduation: 2016



Artist Statement

Les Mamans et Une Mama Fitini is a self portrait and an autobiography. It is a portrait that encompasses my adoption at the age of three into a multi-cultural and multi-racial household, my nomadic childhood, and my experiences as a Black African woman currently residing in the United States.

Due to my trans-continental adoption, I have a unique perspective on relationships across borders and of the transformations to those relationships which occur over time. I am part of the complex connection between my biological mother in Mali and my adoptive mother in the United States.

The construction and materials used in this installation are based on traditional West African mud brick architecture, such as the Djenné Mosque in northern Mali. Each brick is painted with Adinkra symbols and other Malian folklore icons, many of them found on Bògòlanfini cloth. Bògòlanfini cloth in conjunction with Chiwara statues are symbols of Malian identity. Bògòlanfini cloth is used as a ritual protector and as a status marker. The meaning of the symbols on Bògòlanfini cloth have been traditionally passed down from mother to daughter. Having been adopted, this cultural transmission was denied to me.

This installation is constructed of separate and moveable ceramic bricks. There is structure but it is easily altered. This speaks to the question of what constitutes as a home. Can home be imagined? Does it need to be a structure? My understanding of home and mother/daughter relationships is constantly evolving and changing, just as this installation could. Therefore, it is making a commentary about cultural transmission, bonds between mothers and daughters, and multiethnic and cross-cultural adoptions.


Copyright for this work is held by the artist.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.