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Black Female Form is an artistic exploration that examines themes of mental illness, minority stress, and methods of healing with decolonizing practices.

 

The project will be presented in a series of exhibitions that include textiles, installations, a room for rest, black women's testimonies about their mental health and treatment from health services, photo and film and a sound piece.

Sarah Nakiito BFF_edited.jpg

The project's gaze is a decolonizing and contemporary look at mental illness, racism, minority stress and methods of collective healing for marginalized groups.

 

Racism, sexism and exotification against the black and brown female body have caused mental illness and colonial legacies to leave traces and limitations in how we navigate the white majority societies of the global north with the predetermined conditions that apply to (especially foreign born) immigrant women today .

 

We have inherited deep colonial psychological traumas that lead to a systematic disguise of the self (code switching) and are forced to adopt a role, especially in white rooms.

  • A room for rest will be created with textiles, cushions and include soothing scents of essential oils and a soft soundscape.

 

  • Photo series with black female bodies with a focus on decolonizing beauty.

 

  • Short film about traditional healing methods from southern Uganda. A trip there will be made to film and collect material.

 

  • Collected texts and quotes from AfroSwedish women.Installations and garments of used medicine carts will be produced.

  • Foraged and plant-dyed textiles will be produced with the above-mentioned texts.

 

  • Anxiety and stress blanket (weighted blanket) - commonly found in anxiety and depression care. A physical weight that covers the body and the visitor is welcome to try hanging over themself.

 

The project is supported by The Swedish arts council and Region Skåne
 

TESTIMONIALS FROM BLACK WOMEN ASKED ABOUT THEIR MENTAL HEALTH BACKGROUND AND LIFE IN SWEDEN

“...so frustrating to be the one who always has to struggle to climb half a step, and to then accidentally slip off. Fall of. Get pushed off. To constantly have to prove that you are good enough. That they can certainly trust everything on your CV. That your life contains more than what can ever fit on a CV. It is frustrating to know that you are more qualified than your boss. And your boss's boss. But you have to prove that you place on your allocated small
area. That you are a good girl.”


“Many of us feel a threat to our existence. Many of us have left our home countries for reasons such as war, economic migration, as anchor children or simply with a desire to reduce the frustration gap. There are also many of us who get sick leave with symptoms of mental illness but with an illness background rooted in structural problems and injustices.”
There are many of us who seek care, want to talk to
professionals who understand or can relate to our background,but the few who exist are busy. Cannot take in more patients.
Many of us live in isolation.”

 

“We want to be able to see ourselves, our problems as we ourselves express them, our experiences and how we experience the society in which we contribute, live and work in. And how that same society continues to make those of us with black and brown female bodies invisible.”

 

“Feeling so damn sad and powerless. I soon can't take it anymore. I was supposed to send money home this month. I feel so fucking scared and threatened. Feel worthless...

 

I can not take it. The occupational health psychologist was surprised when I started talking about my problems. About the unsustainable situation at work. About the stress. About the racism and "little comments" from both the boss and some colleagues. About the fact that my competence is constantly being questioned, even though I hold the same position as the person asking. She said "but I thought youAfricans who are so colorful don't get depressed like the rest of us"... followed by laughter...”

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