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Rooted in Relationships: Healing Across the Transatlantic Diaspora and Land Stewardship With Women of Color

Artist Blog by Sydney Foster

As an image maker and creative director, I've been drawn to narratives exploring community, liberation, and the vibrant identities within Southern Black culture and queer communities. Through my lens, I aim to capture moments of joy, resilience, and collective strength, rooted deeply in history and shared experiences. One of the most compelling aspects of my work has been engaging with women of color who are stewards of the land and custodians of ancestral wisdom across the Transatlantic Diaspora.

In documenting their stories, I've witnessed how land stewardship becomes a form of resistance and reclamation of space and agency in a world that marginalizes their contributions. Through their labor, these women nourish their communities and cultivate a profound sense of belonging, transcending geographical boundaries and speaking to the resilience of the human spirit. In exploring these narratives, I've learned that our relationships with the land are intertwined with our relationships with each other, emphasizing the importance of community bonds in spaces of healing and liberation.

My journey as a photographer is about bearing witness to the transformative power of connection, amplifying voices silenced for too long, and celebrating the beauty and complexity of the human experience. As I navigate intersections of identity, culture, and community, I'm reminded of the profound truth that our liberation is bound up with the liberation of others. It's through these relationships rooted in love and solidarity that we find the strength to imagine and create a world where justice, equity, and joy are lived realities.

The images featured in the project "Maloum, Mastering Her Destiny" were captured in Pertuis, a town located in the South of France. The project documents the inspiring journey of Maloum, a resilient Cameroonian entrepreneur, over the course of two profound days. Maloum's story unfolds from her boutique in Pertuis, where she offers authentic African garments and groceries, to her courageous battle with heart disease. Throughout the narrative, Maloum's strength and determination shine through, encapsulating her defiance of stereotypes and triumph over adversity. Surrounded by her supportive community, including her three daughters, notably Sabrina, land steward of Domaine La Castelette. The project highlights the transformative power of acceptance and upliftment. Ultimately, Maloum's journey serves as a testament to resilience, community, and the pursuit of individual destiny, emphasizing the importance of nurturing communities in overcoming obstacles and achieving personal growth.