Artist Statement:

Tied to Faith

Tied to Faith is a documentary film that explores my relationship to my Nigerian grandparents, whose lives I have never considered myself apart of before traveling to visit them. The film is comprised of a selection of family album photographs, recent footage and audio conversations. In narrating portions of the film I speak about the assumptions I had of my grandparents lives, seen through family photos pre Nigeria, and the reality that I sought out and discovered. Growing up hearing stories and seeing photographs of my distant relatives, I became both curious and fascinated by the life they lead. Cross River National State in Calabar, Nigeria is where they chose to settle upon coming back in 1973. Tied to Faith pays homage to my grandfather in a biographical way speaking about the dichotomy between power and impotence and absence and presence. It is also an observation of my grandmothers commanding feats and the sacrifices she had to make to move forward in life and bring positive change to their community. My role in the film was to tell my grandparents story in a way that would highlight the significant and important moments during my time spent with them and exploration into their lives. In a society that is constructed to strike down progress, it became increasingly challenging for my grandparents to make positive change in the community. Tribal jealousy, and inauthentic political interests are the true culprits in the vicious cycle that exists. Their determination to create this change against adversity, especially after the health issues that my grandfather was facing, was what inspired me to make the film about their resulted accomplishments after 40 years of fighting for it. At my grandmother’s age of 80 and my grandfathers of 98, among their accomplishments, their devotion and love for each and their faith is equally as inspiring.