Eritrean Woman Archive
The Eritrean Woman Archive started with a yearning to own images of Eritrean women, primarily those of Zeudi Araya. A Eritrean badass, who has been ostracized by the Eritrean community for boldly starring in erotic Italian films and posing nude in print. Through a few Ebay searches I was able to purchase news and magazine clippings of Zeudi and three postcards of Habesha women from the beginning of the 20th century. Ecstatic, I decided to name my meager findings the Eritrean Woman Archive and felt that I was rightly retrieving these images from the basement and garages of people that didn’t have a cultural connection.
The Eritrean Woman Archive has now expanded to a self portrait series printed as postcards. This self portrait series accomplishes the following. It centers the gaze of the photographer, to that of the native and the feminine and documents the oral histories and mundanities of the Eritrean diaspora in a contemporary art context. Being an Eritrean woman of the Eritrean diaspora, my body allows the viewer to access cultural geographies. My body becomes a way of archiving and remembering stories told by stubborn african men and tired grandmothers that have reared dozens of children. While doing the latter it most importantly gives myself and other Eritrean women the agency to control the gaze of our bodies.