When most people discuss their experiences abroad they’re vaguely positive. However, when I recall my own experience of these last seven months abroad, I recall feelings of insecurity and displacement. Nonetheless, they have been strangely encouraging. No two days have been alike. Every day presents a new trial or discovery. I’ve been exploring the concept of ownership over one’s physical appearance. The phrase “put on your best face” is incredibly relevant to this piece. Who exactly are we putting on our best face for? Is it for ourselves or is it for everyone else?
In the process of self-discovery and recognizing that “our faces” are in fact not our own, but rather a metaphor for how others view us and treat us, one can begin to lose their innocence or faith in this world. The idea that people subconsciously treat each other based on physical appearance can be distressing for anyone with physical insecurities.
As a black woman, the concept of the “white gaze” is incredibly relevant to me and this piece. Arthur Jafa most eloquently put “When looking through a camera, on a psychoanalytic level a person views the subject with a white gaze whether the person behind the camera is white or black. I strongly believe this translates to real life as a result of my experiences abroad with people from a myriad of ethnic backgrounds. This story or process is what I will be portraying in my film and photography; through the use of an afro-latina female, arguably the most mistreated and belittled, minority in this current society.