DEEPLY CONNECTED. PLACE. SPACE: MEMORY – By CHRISTINE BOATENG

So much beauty and inspiration in Africa that many people take for granted or may never get to see. But so many things stun me about Africa every day – a continent blessed and filled with beauty, resources and great people. For me, travelling alone meant that I get to experience and learn something new about a place I knew nothing about but heard so much about. To experience people or engage in meaningful conversation, sometimes sitting in silence, and mostly relishing in local culture made me feel fulfilled.

Image by Christine Boateng

I love hearing about people’s experiences- it makes me feel connected to them. So understanding someone’s journey helps you understand the things they do and the things they stand for and which is why I believe I’ve been able to make meaningful connections here at home in Ghana and places I’ve been to over the past 3 years, which are the memories I hold dear to me because they inspire my storytelling.

© Christine Boateng

One of my favourite places is Zanzibar because I can sit for hours and watch sunsets over clearwater / beach disappearing into faraway skylines that form these beautiful hues at different times before the sun disappears completely. I believe I’m deeply connected with sunset and it’s something that connects many people on that little island. Just before sunset or after the sun sets, a crowd begins to form as young boys dive and backflipping into the water. It feels magical, I appreciate the beauty of life during sunset. Seeing these young boys enjoying their time in the water is everything, and these memories will forever remain with me. Spending time at a ginger tea spot also led me to meet many people and have meaningful conversations about life in Africa and what it means to understand one’s culture and languages.

Images © Christine Boateng

Honestly, I am never intentional about making images of a place. Though sometimes deliberate, it’s just in the moment, when I feel like I need to document something, be it a place or a person or random. It’s so I can relive memories and also to follow how specifically a place can change over time. Thinking about how a place can change over some time possibly gives me this sense of belonging knowing that I have seen the place throughout its changes.

I capture moments and experiences on my phone mostly – I like making memories of places that consist of unusual things no one will pay attention to, I’m grateful to see the beauty in the rarest spaces – people’s faces, particular smells, sounds, and feelings of objects all appeal to me in a very natural way. These memories to me are sometimes remembered only when I want to – selective. It’s fascinating that I have a weird attachment to memories I hold dear and mostly feel uncomfortable to share. But I believe any place I visit, I always end up getting attached to something from that place – a souvenir, a friendship, or a memory that I make.

Going through my photos on my phone, I find lots of memories and moments of places I have been to – and I find myself remembering clear cut details. A few, unfortunately, were forgotten. But, it is great to reflect on what I have been up to and where I’ve created memories the most and living through my images whenever I feel the need to want to feel deeply connected again.

I’m a firm believer that I’m always where I need to be (probably) at the right time. Nigeria just happened to be one of those right times. Working in one of the creative and fastest cities in the world meant a lot to me and daily I was inspired by my commute to work and home and for the many beautiful tall buildings and colours within the city. For me, it was all about making good memories and enjoying my experience which I did. What led me to make the photographs of the famous Olosa Street in Victoria Island was because that street led to my workplace and the film academy I was training with. The road was awful. Then it got worse and then finally, it was fixed. Following that process for me was very interesting so I decided to take pictures daily to follow the progress of the road. These things excite me even though it’s not much or interesting.

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