Mimi ni Wewe, Wewe ni Mimi

Laila-Sophie Surges

Keywords: Biracial identity, Zanzibar/germany, Heritage

Internship: Doreen Mashika
lulusurges@hotmail.com, instagram.com/lailasophie

Going back home was like rereading a love letter tucked away under your bed in a dusty box. All these feelings resurfaced covered in cobwebs, feelings I never had recollection of. That warm sensation spreading through my chest the moment the salty humid air filled my lungs; I was finally home. It felt as if all my troubles melted away with the island heat as the sweat slowly dripped down my neck. The cooling feeling, I so longed for, to feel the sun graze my face, kissing it ever so slowly, a loving kiss so very familiar and warm. A kiss as warm as my mothers.

My graduation project titled, Mimi ni wewe, wewe ni Mimi in Kiswahili is the exploration of my biracial identity and my roots in Zanzibar and how being a Muslim woman of colour in the Western world.

Through the combination of the vibrant East African structure of dressing, specifically in Zanzibar and the juxtaposition of covering of the female form in Islam, I create my own language translating into my utopic biracial identity. While exploring an everyday plastic bag/raffia found in the markets in Zanzibar, working with the material to create a new artistic language. Through taking elements from my East African/Islamic culture I created these eccentric woven textiles which play on the combination of tradition but with a more playful twist to it.

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Mimi ni Wewe, Wewe ni Mimi