Visual · March 26, 2019
Affirmations for my Existence
As a first generation Nigerian-born American, I think about how I'm often the only person who looks like me in the spaces I've occupied in this lifetime. I think about the inherent radicality embedded in the fact that I have engaged in these spaces that were systematically designed to keep people who look like me away. I think about the white woman who called the cops on my sister as she was sleeping in her dorm common room at Yale, and of the history of white people leveraging weapons of the carceral state against black people for simply existing. I think about the institutional forces that prevent access to these spaces for people like me.
I also think about my mother leaving Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria for America in her early 20s so that her children could have access to the spaces that I currently occupy. And I think about the sacrifices she made in pursuit of the “American dream."
I am the manifestation
I am the dream
I am my mother's dream
I am my mother's nation
I am of this nation
I am the dream for this nation
I am the manifestation of my mother's dream for this nation
~ for my mum, Oluwaremilekun "Remi" Aliyu and her mum and so on so forth
As told by
Zainab Aliyu is a Nigerian-American designer and artist who sees every human interaction as an experience that merits attention and thoughtfully intentional design. Her transdisciplinary practice leverages critical pedagogy, contextual inquiry, and the human side of technology to interrogate societal, archived and institutional forces against individual and collective identity.
is part of
a theme that the Black Girl Magik collective explored and invited the community to investigate with us through a practice of communal healing and coalition building.