A 4-part visual narrative poem by Alexxa Walker that celebrates the abundance of the motherland and the desire to reconnect with our roots.
The story follows a woman who has a vision of meeting her mother – who she believed had abandoned her at birth – and her journey home.
This collection is heavily imbued by my experience as a woman from the diaspora visiting and (re)connecting with the motherland – especially Ghana. It seeks to explore the internal dissonance that diasporic communities feel due to immigration, movements and displacements, and the void that can only be filled by going back ‘home’.
The first two parts, ‘the vision’ and ‘the meeting place’, were photographed in Butre and Kumasi, Ghana. Although I am not from Ghana, these are two places that I hold very close to my heart.
I use two important devices and structures in this collection: free verse and dissonance. Free verse is found in the loosely structured, often unmetered and fluid verses – used to reflect the surrender to flow in different chapters of my own journey. Dissonance is used to exemplify the disharmony between the negative narratives told in the media about Africa and the incredible experience of actually visiting her different countries.
The Freedom Editions are a continuation of my Finding Freedom 1/1 collection. Like in the first collection, you can find adinkra symbols tied to each piece. Adinkra symbols are visual representations of Akan proverbs that are pervasive in Ghanaian culture and history. With this work, I invite you on my search for freedom, and to see Ghana through my lens.
[Link to Finding Freedom: Vol. I Collexion here.]
All information related to the adinkra symbols have been retrieved from The Adinkra Symbols Project. You can check out their website for more information.
inner dialogues with my mother.
she spoke so clearly
i could still feel her voice
slithering down my skin
yet I have never known her.
separated at birth,
i am called ‘the bastard daughter’
that i was lost and forgotten
all my life,
that i was destined for darkness,
that i was better off this way,
better off without her
my mother was dirty and poor
plagued by dis-ease and war
a contaminated shell
with nothing left to give.
– the vision | mother’s weight
she said “be like water,
serpent and flow like the curves of the earth,
and when you uncover your truth,
you will find where you belong.”
for twenty seven years
i believed lies to be true
until i had a vision
where i met
the one they call
wretched and unworthy,
hideous and decrepit.
i met my mother.
but in contrary to their lies,
she was beautiful, magnificent
the way she arched her back yet stood tall –balancing light and wisdom on her head,
feeding life into everything she touched.
she told me
i had to return home to find my truth.
and although my face trembled with fear,
she said “look to the moon and the stars,
they are your compass.
they will bring you
to where the light meets the shadows
and that’s where we will meet again.”
– the meeting place | awakening
it has been 400 days
since i have been lost at sea.
i have replayed memories of her,
visions of my mother,
until they morphed into reality
and i no longer know
what is real
and what is fantasy.
maybe they were hallucinations,
maybe i have been sick all along
lost and forgotten – like they say
fulfilling the prophecy,
destined to fall into the endless abyss
of darkness and decay.
how foolish i feel
chasing a ghost,
the illusion of love –
a dream of belonging.
the very person who left me to die
is the reason why i am now castaway
waiting for death to welcome me.
i raise my arms.
i surrender to the ocean,
allowing her force
to take hold of me.
close my eyes,
laugh until i cry,
cry until i scream,
until i fall asleep.
— the reckoning | pacification knot
emerging from the shadows
i am drawn to the hymns of a crowd.
they turn to me
and begin calling out my name.
i see her,
the woman from my visions,
like a flower stretching out for water,
i take her hand
and join the crowd
in their chants.
i find myself dancing
to the echo of their hums.
the past, the pain,
when they said
“you’re pretty for a black girl,
you’re smart for a black girl,
you speak so well for a black girl,
you got good hair for a black girl,”
those words ate at my skin,
taught me how to swallow my tongue,
can be more powerful
than being seen.
the demons i created,
falling out of love
with my oppressors,
“you do not own me.”
i am releasing.
like fire to the phoenix,
the crowd embraces me.
i finally decipher
the whispers that drip
from their mouths
“akwaaba,” they say –
is skin deep.
— the return | revelations |
pretty for a black girl