‘YOWA’ – Wilson Borja

28.01.2017 – 24.02.2017


This project comprises a series of drawings/paintings and short animations that explores the phenomenon of migration and the African diaspora. This exploration was originated by contrasting aspects of forced and voluntary migration in addition to Kvasnyand and Hales’ idea, that “Belonging everywhere or not belonging anywhere” describes the situation among people of the African diaspora.

Through research I intersperse layers of personal history with that of my ancestors and their descendants in the Americas. As an Afro-­descendant, I am interested in the process of hybridization as a consequence of migration. I draw inspiration from African textiles and their African American hybrid forms, quilts. This project analyses Ptolemaic concepts in regards of pre-Columbian and African map conventions, and African syllabaries in order to visualize aspects of the African diaspora such as colonization, evangelization, displacement, instability, inequality, marginalization, adaptation, and acculturation.

With the development of this project I intend to reach a more accurate understanding of the multi-­layered experience of the African Diaspora, particularly with regard to the persistent color line traced five hundred years ago by the Western colonial system.

*Yowa in the Kongo civilization cosmogram is the “turn in the path,” the crossroads remains an indelible concept in the Kongo-Atlantic world, as the point of intersection between the ancestors and the living. The horizontal line divides the mountain of the living world from its mirrored counterpart in the kingdom of the dead. 


Wilson Borja (Bogotá, 1980), Graphic Designer of the National University of Colombia (2003)and Master of Fine Arts of the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA), studied thanks to the Fullbright grant of Cultural Studies for Afro-descendant and Indigenous Communities (2011). Among the different distinctions he won the first place at the Lápiz de Acero contest, in the digital animation category for Proyectodiseño magazine (2009). Borja has participated in various exhibitions like the solo show “Chere Sur” at Casatinta (Bogotá, 2015), and the group show “Through the Drawing” at the Museum of Graphic Arts of the Faculty of Arts of the District University (Bogotá, 2016).



Photography: Yorely Valero.

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