I am encountering you

Image Description: A young woman reads by candlelight in a dark room. 


Different modes of conversation have entirely different effects. How does one situate continuous daily conversation in the context of artistic research?

How does one make the phrase ‘understand others’ accessible and narrow down the word ‘others’?

I look to my surrounding friends.

I explore the intensity and density of intimate friendship.


Valerie is my close friend in Oxford. I had been eager to encounter another person who treated art as her life.


The tears begin the moment I read her poem in my tiny bedroom under dim candle light:

‘But I promise

I am still your daughter

And maybe

Looking for a better life

Has forced me into a worse one’


We were both displaced.

Her experiences as a foreign student resonated with me. I empathised with them.

She responded, ‘I felt this even as an African in Africa. Being a foreigner is still being a foreigner—sometimes, even beyond race.’


During quarantine, we made video-calls almost every day to share everything: our art journeys, the world outside our windows, our bedrooms, and our gossip. We got used to calling each other ‘love’, a common expression among Westerners. However, for me, it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Our connection came suddenly. I joked that she had to be my sister from another land. I had never called anyone ‘love’ this way before. Maybe it will only belong to her.


Image Credit: Nuril Ahsan via Unsplash