Artist Statement

a momentary detour

A Momentary Detour, Valerie Caesar, 2012.

I use photography, video and animation in my self-portraiture work, often depicting a young Black woman navigating the urban landscape in which she lives and attempting to define her Self as an archetypically female being, a sexual being, a human being.

My work is highly biographical, as my own image is often the subject of the work, but I am interested in the tension between the modern Diasporic self and the ancestral self; about transported people, and how we find our way home.

My simple and functional features — eyes, skin, nose, hair and the shape of my body — are a totemic and eternal marker of the lineage that preceded me: I am my people. But I am also enormously and individually affected by daily contemporary factors. Who am I? What am I? What is an ‘I’? My artwork observes the interplay between two concurrently existing worlds; twin hearts: the observer of self within the self. Meeting the gaze in the mirror is this immigrant’s homecoming.