SILENCED IDENTITY

Why don't you paint yourself white to look like us so you can truly fit in?

 

Why don't you paint yourself white so you can hide your true identity?

 

Why don't you paint yourself white so you can look beautiful because you're told your dark skin is ugly?

This series reflects my experiences with racism after moving to Finland. Identity is something that made me feel like an outsider for a long time. Having a mother from Finland and a father from Rwanda gave me a beautiful caramel complexion, but also set me apart from the societies I have lived in. Growing up in Rwanda, I was too light to be Rwandan. When I would walk down the streets, people would call me "muzungu," a term in Kinyarwanda used to call caucasians. I never felt like I could fully integrate with the local culture because I was not 100% Rwandan. On the other hand, many people in Finland had and still have a hard time believing I share the same nationality as them because my skin is too dark to be Finnish.

The paint symbolises how overtime, I constructed a disesteem for the colour of my skin and how I began to conceal my identity because of the weight that grew from the rejection I got from the new country I had moved to, which is where my mother is from. The trash on the floor, thrown at her during the shoot, represents all the racial encounters I experienced in Finland.

 

I wanted to speak out on the racism in Finland that many are not vocal about. People tend to be oblivious to things that others right next to them are going through, and so I wanted to capture and expose the experience of living in Finland with darker skin.

© 2020 by Carmina Ndahiro

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CARMINA

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