Umumalayika

Francine, who her brother in law hacked off both her arms with a machete. photo by Martina Bacigalupo

Francine, who her brother in law hacked off both her arms with a machete. Photo by Martina Bacigalupo

I heard about Francine’s story over a year ago, while working in Burundi. In 2005 her brother in law hacked off both her arms with a machete. Assisted in every way possible, this young woman now lives far away from her daughter, Bella, who studies in the south of the country. They see each other whenever possible.

My work traces this relationship where mother and child continuously swap their roles. Bella takes care of Francine as if she was the mother, and then again the child, and then again the mother. The roles reverse and overlap.

We heal and are healed, we protect and are protected, we nourish and are nourished.

I tell the story of a woman and a relationship, which her story, and ours.

Umumalayika took form also through to the eye of Magule Wango, artist from Mozambique who met Francine and enriched the work with collages, drawings and paintings.

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