Aline Deschamps | Untitled, 2020
"I Am Not Your Animal is a visual record of the daily lives of former domestic workers in Lebanon. The title of the series comes from discussions with this group of Sierra Leonean women, whom I first met in the spring of 2020. One phrase kept being repeated: "They didn't treat me like a human being, they treated me like an animal."
This series is a visual response to the way these women are perceived, and attempts to translate the intersectional experience of being a black migrant woman in Lebanon, confronted with systemic racism in a country where the black body is often reduced to only one position: that of the 'maid'.
Enslaved in the kafala system, these women had either escaped from their employers' homes or had been abandoned on the streets of Beirut in 2020, in the midst of a pandemic and the economic collapse of the country. The majority had not been able to recover their passports or salaries, and therefore had no way of returning home.
While taking care not to erase the suffering of these women, the slow and soothing documentation of everyday life offers a new vision of migrant domestic workers in the region. Through moments of joy and complicity, the series celebrates something that has so often been denied them in Lebanon: the celebration of being a black woman. Through the juxtaposition of handwritten letters, the series also aims to capture a more latent and personal psychological violence: that of being stranded in a foreign country and trying to communicate the ineffable".
Enquiry for Aline Deschamps | Untitled, 2020
Aline Deschamps | Untitled Figures - 2020
42 x 29.7 cm
Inkjet Print on Hannemühle Photo Rag Baryta paper - Edition 1 of 7