The concept behind this series of photographs is a depiction of a deep bond between myself and a sister-friend-love. The inspiration comes from my own personal experience conceptualized in the Chinese term for a rare and formal relationship between women. Lao tong - or "old sames" - is a name that describes women who are bound together for eternity. Historically, these women developed deep relationships during a time when they were considered the property of men. A lao tong relationship is made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity. As part of customary practice, women of similar age would be paired in a bond of exclusive sisterhood that would last a lifetime and survive marriage, child-birth and widow-hood. A lao tong relationship would seldom be renounced or broken. These women also developed a specific language called nu-shu and is the only written language in the world to have been created by women exclusively for their own use.
Most women in community come together for one reason or another. Many of us develop special bonds that are everlasting. The African American community is no different in that regard. Our women have a distinct way of “being” that is grounded in our unique cultural experience. It transcends age, economics, region or dialect. It gets expressed at church, in the kitchen, at the beauty shop,...anywhere we get to do what "we" do. It is an undeniable bond that brings us together and keeps us steadfast through the trials and tribulations of life. I have been fortunate to have found a lao tong, a Sista with whom i have found "home". This is just one story that threads through one woman's journey. It is something that I think many of us can relate to either personally or through the eyes of others.