Asha Means Life: An Introduction

In late summer 2011, I overnighted with Asha and her family while in transit to work on another project. I began snapping as Asha created pockets of order in the chaos that ensued the night-before-the-first-day-of-school. Weeks later, I realized there was an emotional charge to the images.


Still nascent, the project “Asha Means Life” came into being with that moment. It features my mother’s namesake – a young mother herself, an artist and a Caribbean immigrant – and the visual manifestation of her psychological world.

Asha’s story unfolded before my lens in a whirlwind of activity informed by an undercurrent of tension. In Asha’s daily struggles, I identified the challenges faced by single mothers as well as the complexities of defining identity after dislocation. The impact of the global economic crisis was also evident in the changing financial fate of her family. The beautiful children in her charge were worldlier than one might expect, and provided an even less inhibited and more telling glimpse into her world.

Asha is the Swahili word for life.

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