Artist Statement – Let the journey to peace start today so that tomorrow I shall arrive, free and content.

Losing a loved one makes you feel all the emotions you have evaded all your life: Loneliness. Sadness. Anxiety. Pain, sharp like a fresh clean slice. And most of all emotions—you feel resignation; because no matter what you do, you can never get the past. You can never get the loved one gone, back again.

 

I feel this way about my mother’s death. There are so many questions I want to ask but cannot because the air has no answers but silence. It feels like a gaping void rests on my soul and no matter how much I talk, laugh and interact with people, that vacuum stays wide, breathing out a foul breath of grief. Green as a smoke, it envelops me. I see her whenever I walk to restaurants to have lunch and see a mother and daughter sitting together, laughing, and sharing something special. It takes me back to the past, to afternoon lunches with my Mom at Mr Biggs, a ritual we did before I went off to boarding school for the year. It makes the void larger, the smoke suffocates further, tightening my throat with grief until I can hardly breathe.

 

I want to breathe.

 

I see this trip as my oxygen. I want the road to open a channel of air for me to inhale and exhale. I want to find solace in my predilections, peace in my pain. As each mile is covered, will my soul find a way to live with my grief, letting it become part of me like second skin, that I will feel no more sadness but joy in it? If it may, may it be so. As I document on the unique relationships between Nigerian mothers and daughters, the thread that binds them, tightened with love and affection that even memories cannot fade into thin air, I want to be able to leave a part of my memory with the present, as the present leaves theirs with me. Let the journey to peace start today so that tomorrow I shall arrive, free and content.