My aim is for “DEAR NOAH” to come as a book, like a worldwide family album representing a time, a movement, a change.
HOW IT STARTED
Words by AC Ahouangonou - Photography by Alia.
5th July 2020
My name is Anne-Claire but you can call me AC, yes like Alternative Current.
As a Millennial Black Woman, May – June 2020 is pretty traumatic for me.
I have been navigating many different feelings – angry, fearful, sad, tired, depleted, grieving, unable to understand, fight or fly mode, overwhelmed, disheartened, stressed…
It was in some ways inconceivable that in 2020, we as black people are NOT treated equally, that in 2020, we are still out in the streets, protesting and yelling with all our hearts that “Black Lives Matter” as if it was not already a fundamental truth.
During this time, I thought about my children and my grand-children and I feared for them, truly. What would I say to them when they grow up? How would I address systemic racism? How would I protect them from a world which does not? How would I prepare them?
I do not even have children but I feared for them, I felt pain for them. But as I marched in Paris in 2nd June 2020, as I watched protests in the press and in social media in London, in Berlin, in the US, I felt hope and wanted for everyone around the world now and for the years to come to remember this time: when the world started to see and acknowledge how unfairly Black People were treated, and yelled “Enough”.
From a mental health perspective, May – June 2020 was also intensely overwhelming. Writing how I felt helped, somehow, to try to process my own experiences. Conversations with other Black Womxn felt liberating and therapeutic; and in some extent, I stopped holding my breath and I could breathe slightly better. I found solace for a few minutes.
My aim is for “DEAR NOAH” to come as a book, like a worldwide family album representing a time, a movement, a change that we could pass on to the next generation, the children of now and the adults of tomorrow for them to remember the historical human right movement of May – June 2020.
I would like “DEAR NOAH” to help us process what is happening now like a "group art therapy" delivering healing to trauma and pain.
Finally, I also wanted to give voices and faces to Black Womxn and children across the world…
To document to remember, to highlight to personify, to share to process, from the individuals towards the community.
And hopefully, we all will look at this time thinking “we made it happen”.
Founder of DEAR NOAH
Alia Wilhem is a Turkish-German multimedia artist based in London. She is also the co-founder of the Nearness Project - a 'group art therapy' platform gathering the various responses to the changes brought on by COVID-19. It is a creative safe space where artists are invited to share their arts with the aim of self-reflection, opening conversations and focusing on mental health.
www.aliawilhelm.com | IG @aliiiiia