Looking For Freedom: a visual representation of internalized stigma by YOUNG AFRICAN CREATIVE NETWORK member Yannis Davy Guibinga. #YoungAfricanCreativeNetwork
The ubiquity of negative messages regarding racial, sexual and other identities is such that they very often shape the way members of these marginalized communities see and think about themselves, and others like them. This distorted perspective of one’s own self regarding his identities in relation to the rest of the world can lead to internalized stigma, resulting in feelings of self-hate and these individuals disconnecting from their cultures and communities in the hopes of finally being accepted by the same institutions who have been oppressing them and their peers for so long.
This series is a visual representation of the consequences of one’s internalized stigma. By internalizing and accepting as facts all of the stereotypes broadcasted by traditional media, one’s identity, culture and sense of self-ends up being distorted and stripped away, before being replaced by an inauthentic version of oneself. Showing the skin behind the mask represents the struggle those internalizing stigma and ultimately experiencing self-hate face when they realize that despite creating these alternative identities and distancing themselves from their communities, their true selves will always come to the forefront.