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Peju Alatise (Nigerian, born 1975)
wood, cloth, resin, fiberglass and acrylic
233.7 x 68.6cm (92 x 27in).
This is a transcription of a conversation between a mother and daughter that the artist overheard whilst she was working in Ibrahimpasa during an artist residency. The conversation was prompted by the appearance of Alatise's signature on her paintings.
'They put them on High Horses and they stayed there.
"Don't whistle, don't sing!
Do not dance, do not shine,
Do not be heard, do not be seen,
No rhythm, no rhyme.
Be quiet, be still,
You shall not be!"
She obeyed every word and disappeared. She looks at her mother, the woman that has never been: "Shall I be like you, mama?"
Her mother said without a smile: "Indeed you shall. As all women should be."
"But Mama, you do not exist!"
"Neither shall you for this is what is preserved for us. What greater honor is there for a woman than to be married and have children?"
"But that is in his name! What about my name?"
"Shhh my child, remove that sinful thought from your head and never talk about it again!" Her mother's whispers were like thunder.'
This was not the first time the artist had heard such views; the notion that women are predestined to be wives and mothers is still a widely held view in this part of the world.