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Labels Series

Part of the 34 to 35 Collection 

2023, Multimedia on Paper, 11 x 16 cm (Postcards)

Prior to creating these artworks, I found myself in a somewhat challenging artistic state. I was grappling with questions about my identity as an artist, influenced by the constant stream of labels that surrounded me—terms like queer, African, black, female, and more. These labels felt like constraints, representing the narrow boxes the art world wanted to place me in, limiting my creative freedom.

However, during a conversation with a friend about this internal struggle, she shared something profound that ignited a fresh perspective on my artistic journey. She suggested, “Perhaps you should fully embrace these labels because they are an integral part of who you are. Instead of resisting them, why not flourish within them?”

This insight became the catalyst for the creation of the postcards, each bearing specific messages I penned to myself in Swahili, from Jordan Awori to Rita Seruya. Through these pieces, I wholeheartedly embraced eight such labels—labels that I am proud to identify with, yet refuse to be confined by.

Then, on my 35th birthday, while I was in Lisbon, I mailed these postcards to myself. I received seven out of the eight back, symbolizing my journey of acceptance and celebration of my multifaceted identity.

This collection consists of 8 works created as the artist went through a transitional phase in her life. 

FRONT: Mhamiaji, Mweusi, Mke, Mwanamke, Mkristo, Msagaji, Mwafrika and Binti
BACK (BEFORE POSTAGE): Mhamiaji, Mweusi, Mke, Mwanamke, Mkristo, Msagaji, Mwafrika and Binti
BACK (RECEIVED): Mhamiaji, Mweusi, Mke, Mwanamke, Mkristo, Msagaji (missing), Mwafrika and Binti

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