Ludovic Nkoth

Region: MFA Annual

 I was fourteen when it happened. Awoken one morning by the smell of my biological mother’s cooking in Cameroon (to this day, still the best breakfast of my life), then falling asleep that evening in a foreign land as an “African American.” Suddenly, everything was unfamiliar. The classification of bodies based on skin was not discussed in Cameroon—we were just humans in spaces. It was the first time the color of my skin affected the color of my suit.

Unfailingly and unceasingly, every time I lay my brush in paint I remember those first disorienting days. Severed from my homeland, my identity is shaken.

“Where am I from?”

“Where do I belong?”

My work explores the displacement of Black bodies within alienating spaces, with a focus on pre- and postcolonial Africa. Painting in the land that took my people’s power, I reclaim it. Existing in a culture that seeks to erase mine, I struggle to hold onto it.

As I continue my journey, the unknown shows me new truths about myself and my roots.