What is this home that is home that is not home

Mallory Lowe Mpoka

What is this home that is home that is not home, 2020
Inkjet print on Hahnemuhle photo rag
Photography, Concordia University

In What is this home that is home that is not home, the subjects find themselves in a pool of rusty clay, referential to Mallory Lowe Mpoka’s ancestral village in West Cameroon. The presence of this essential Cameroonian topographical feature, in a hidden lagoon in Montréal’s Verdun Beach, is perhaps an indication that an individual’s home may exist in more places than one. The clay references the many ways the Black diaspora carry their homelands within themselves. The notion of longing and belonging is further echoed in the traditional threading and weaving of the subjects’ hair, using common West and Central African hair practices.

This body of work calls into question our collective understanding of home — where we “are” versus where we “are from” — and how our corporeal bodies reflect these metaphysical spaces. How do diasporic bodies act as mnemonic agents in the ways they relate to ancestral sites? How is our sense of (be)longing and personhood shaped by our relationship to the land? In this series, Lowe investigates what these relationships look like and how they can be visually translated. Her practice continues to be informed by transcultural narratives while exploring the historical, cultural, and socio-political influences in the creation of hybrid identities and diasporic imaginaries.