This past weekend was Mother’s day here in Sweden. I thought a lot about my mother and how a little over 41 years ago she was here in Sweden after having married my Malmö native father & left her home in NYC with my brother to live in Skåne.
A crucial part of this story, as I remember it told to me, is that adjusting to the Sweden of that time, as a black woman from the USA (busy & very diverse NYC at that), had layers of challenges- largely social and cultural in nature.
Pregnant with me in 1977 she resolved to move back to the USA. My family has been there ever since.
That family history was part of the launching point for a portrait & interview series I started envisioning last month. So much has changed since those days back in the 70’s but of course the way of discussing race & ethnicity issues here on Scandinavia has taken on its own form.
Meeting with, photographing & interviewing Scandinavian citizens & residents with both roots in both the Nordic region & African diaspora is my method of exploring issues of culture, home & belonging.
Interview & portraits will are with those who identify as ‘Afro Nordic’ (be it ‘AfroSvensk’, ‘AfroDansk’, ‘AfroNorsk’ & so forth). Many of these individuals are 1st generation biracial citizens who inhabit that interesting place of being mixed & not looking ethnically ‘Nordic’ but in many other senses being ‘native’ here- culturally, linguistically etc. Issues of heritage & belonging are often central to their life narratives & for me a fascinating launching point for this portrait & interview series.
*Photo of my mother, brother & I taken in the late 70’s by my father