reflective
confrontation
dissecting the friction between dislocation and descent

by zainab aliyu
dissecting the friction between dislocation and descent

by zainab aliyu
Gravitationally bound

Remnants of something stellar

Dark matter we were


Unlocking fragments of myself

Only to find the remaining slices are now shut tight

A reminder that I owe you nothing


You can't see me blush

But rest assured

Blood /does/ rush beneath this skin

Melting hot wax

On a concrete windowsill

Emitting immutability

A compact rendition of my autobiography resurfaces

When you inquire casually about where I'm from

Sometimes I can't help but ramble on

When I don't know the answer to things...

Anyway

Grasping

Not out of desperation,

But out of fear

Not of uncertainty,

But of obscured weaknesses

Periodically

I am a conundrum

Even to myself

We matter

No matter

How many times they try to tell us we don’t

Through action, or

No action

We must leap over hurdles rooted in fear

Every so often, mistreating yourself

Can be mistaken for treating yourself

I need to sincerely discover myself

Before I can sincerely celebrate myself

Sedating regimens

Seconds of hiatus

Minutes of tranquility

Refuge from imprudent pressure

On this planet that always desires further

Value the extraneous

Treasure the unnecessary

A black box with no output

A stimulus with no response

A shock with no affect

What are your internal workings?

My first pseudonym wasn't my last

The internet is a corybantic space

Stranger danger is a myth

When I became a woman,

I tried to conceal it from my mother

Vulnerability has been my most significant fear

For as long as I can recall

Fairly nebulous lens

Through which I tried to perceive you

Pity,

I ran out of cleaning supplies recently

Unvarnished prosperity

Isn’t quantified by

Immediate reception

But rather

Delayed introspection

Don't wear your skin as a burden

I'll bear the scars with you

Carry the weight with you

Dodge the cartridges with you

Vital byproduct

By way of light

Made tangible and rendered permanent

The sudden flare tortures my retinas

No photosynthesis, please

Fresh

Real

Stillness

So finite

I can barely reach

Lost in the equinox of earth

It is said that humans are God’s finest work

Yet, I look onto the purity and allure of nature

And can’t help but have divergent viewpoints

You take but never give

If that's the way you wish to live

Then free samples only

Uncontaminated synchronicity

Missed connections

A jovial coincidence

Entertain me

Pacify me

A paradox of sorts

dissecting the friction between dislocation and descent at the intersection of diaspora, identity and vulnerability —

The idea of diaspora has developed significantly in scholastic environments to expand upon an applicable framework for understanding the dispersal of a people from their homeland to an alternative place. After an influential dissertation in 1939 by E. Franklin Frazier on how Africans had adapted to their new conditions in the Americas, as well as a study in 1941 by Melville Herskovits on how Africans maintained their cultural heritage while developing a sentiment of community in the Americas, other scholars have concentrated on the manifestations of “the African Diaspora,” which has typically been conceptualized to be based ultimately upon a shared Black identity created through processes of racialization on a worldwide scale. Regardless of their differing backgrounds, locations and contributions, members of a diaspora generally share an emotional attachment to their hereditary land and connection with one another; face similar difficulties in constructing and developing themselves; are aware of their dispersal and, if conditions allow, of their oppression and estrangement in the nations in which they live. 

Attempts have been made for immigrants to stay connected with their native countries while living abroad. For instance, some developing countries have become more invested in giving dual citizenship to the children or grandchildren of immigrants, so as to fortify ties to their roots. Tragically, this does not totally lessen the perception of identity loss and detachment that individuals of a diaspora may feel from their nations of origin. 

With this project, I offer myself as the subject matter to investigate the friction between dislocation and descent that leads to a dilemma of social and cultural identity. Generally, children of immigrants who were born in a host society or have lived the majority of their life in a host society, have a tendency to emphasize the host society part of their identity over their homeland origin, while still feeling appended to their roots. Regarding the reshaping of identities, the diasporic experience tends to give birth to individuals who feel uprooted and not genuinely secured to any one specific culture. Ultimately for me, this has led to an unwavering sense of vulnerability within multiple aspects of my life. 

“Reflective Confrontation” creates a catalog of my African Diaspora experience through a series of selected thoughts, musings and observations. The piece takes form in two different mediums, one physical and the other digital, through which I aim to represent vulnerability as a tangible emotion. Here lies the digital. 


about the artist —
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 work leverages critical pedagogy, contextual inquiry, and the human side of technology to interrogate societal, archived and institutional forces against individual and collective identity.

instagram & website & e-mail




dissecting the friction between dislocation and descent at the intersection of diaspora, identity and vulnerability —

The idea of diaspora has developed significantly in scholastic environments to expand upon an applicable framework for understanding the dispersal of a people from their homeland to an alternative place. After an influential dissertation in 1939 by E. Franklin Frazier on how Africans had adapted to their new conditions in the Americas, as well as a study in 1941 by Melville Herskovits on how Africans maintained their cultural heritage while developing a sentiment of community in the Americas, other scholars have concentrated on the manifestations of “the African Diaspora,” which has typically been conceptualized to be based ultimately upon a shared Black identity created through processes of racialization on a worldwide scale. Regardless of their differing backgrounds, locations and contributions, members of a diaspora generally share an emotional attachment to their hereditary land and connection with one another; face similar difficulties in constructing and developing themselves; are aware of their dispersal and, if conditions allow, of their oppression and estrangement in the nations in which they live. 

Attempts have been made for immigrants to stay connected with their native countries while living abroad. For instance, some developing countries have become more invested in giving dual citizenship to the children or grandchildren of immigrants, so as to fortify ties to their roots. Tragically, this does not totally lessen the perception of identity loss and detachment that individuals of a diaspora may feel from their nations of origin. 

With this project, I offer myself as the subject matter to investigate the friction between dislocation and descent that leads to a dilemma of social and cultural identity. Generally, children of immigrants who were born in a host society or have lived the majority of their life in a host society, have a tendency to emphasize the host society part of their identity over their homeland origin, while still feeling appended to their roots. Regarding the reshaping of identities, the diasporic experience tends to give birth to individuals who feel uprooted and not genuinely secured to any one specific culture. Ultimately for me, this has led to an unwavering sense of vulnerability within multiple aspects of my life. 

“Reflective Confrontation” creates a catalog of my African Diaspora experience through a series of selected thoughts, musings and observations. The piece takes form in two different mediums, one physical and the other digital, through which I aim to represent vulnerability as a tangible emotion. Here lies the digital. 


about the artist —
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 work leverages critical pedagogy, contextual inquiry, and the human side of technology to interrogate societal, archived and institutional forces against individual and collective identity.

instagram & website & e-mail