Video · June 24, 2018
Growing up in London, a truly multicultural city, I believe it's critically important to have a sense of self. Having a French Caribbean mother who comes from a robust Parisian background, a German stepfather who never lets me forgot how raw and punk London was in the '80s, and a Bajan father who oozes South London culture and confidence, I was inevitably curious about culture and heritage. I moved to Paris when I was 18, fresh out of the sixth form, having decided that exploring where I was from was far more important to me than going to university. Through years of family trips all over — from small towns in the Czech Republic where the locals had apparently never seen anyone like me to summer camps in Italy and Greece where I would find myself surrounded by white German teens — I learned very quickly that I needed to know who I was, but also that I needed to learn about others.
I love Paris. I love being French and having the passport to back it up. However, I love that I'm not limited to being just French. I pride myself on also being from Guadeloupe. My mother has made sure that my brother and I go back once a year. Even though I no longer live in Europe, I still take time every December to be with my family in Guadeloupe — to keep that part of my heritage ever-present in my life and to bring back a piece of the French Caribbean every time I come home to NYC. I re-connect to understand Guadeloupe's history and culture and to reinforce my identification as both French and French Caribbean. I'm grateful for every moment I can engage with someone else's culture. The more we engage with one another and embrace each other's culture, the more compassion I believe we will show for each other.
I made this short film with a good friend of mine from London who, like me, understands the power of travel. We wanted to show the fusion of Guadeloupe and my style, which I would describe as entirely "free”. A few of my aesthetic decisions are frowned upon back in the Caribbean. But that's cool. As I said, it's important to understand who you are. Yes, I'm from Guadeloupe, but I'm also from Germany, from Paris, from London.
Director and videographer — Leila Afghan (@leilaafghan)
As told by
My name Maia but many people know me as Mimi. I'm a young French British artist living in New-York with my husband. I spend most of my time either playing with pigments on people's faces, planning world domination, smoking weed or a combination of all three. I'm at my happiest hiking in the Caribbean or watching a movie in an empty theatre.