“2013, I was traveling across West Africa with my mom visiting family. Car rapides after car rapides, making key stops here and there, rediscovering our country like we’d never been here before. We curiously roamed with a different set of eyes, with a different sense of purpose.
From Mali to Senegal, a little bit of Gambia, our trip quickly turned into a month. We now had 2 weeks left and Guinea-Bissau was our last stop.
I could spend 10 more hours describing the village that welcomed us, but instead I’m just going to jump straight to the ending of this trip.
For 10 days, they fed us, gave us a place to sleep, shared their bed, prepared “Ataya” for us, and taught us expecting nothing in return.
“Let’s buy a cow for the village before we leave,” my mom said. To tell you the truth, even 10 cows wouldn’t have been enough to make up for their level of hospitality.
The chief declined our offer at first, he is not the “give to get” type of man but, we insisted…yeah, my mom is the “don’t you dare tell me “no”’ type of woman.
So, the chief calls his mate and tells him to go get ready to head to the city with us and buy the cow. The excitement in his mate’s eyes as he learned that he was going to THE CITY was priceless. He smiled and said, “Give me 30 minutes to get dressed!”
He was back 15 minutes later, feeling handsome (as he was!) wearing denim jeans waaay too big for him, a cowboy hat & boots, with a huge New York jersey shirt…and still the same genuine smile of excitement. A smile that for some reason moved me…touched me in a way that can’t be described with words. I was proud of all the values he carried and that I could see through his smile in that moment. ”
About Lili Lopez
Senegalese visual expressionist Lili Lopez studied applied arts, photography and business before working as a marketing director in media and entertainment in Paris. Gradually, her multi-media art practice became her full-time occupation and she now works across film, watercolour, pen on paper and chalkboard.
Having recently relocated to New York, Lili is building a reputation for her geometric, minimalist and African-inspired aesthetic.
She began a short documentary series titled, UNDONE , as a personal project hoping to prove that life is not about being but about becoming.
The debut series of UNDONE recently won the award for Best Web Series at the Bushwick Film Festival 2016.