Becoming’s greatest power is its ability to invite viewers to examine their own personal and shared histories that exist within and across cultural spaces – both the epic histories and the small in between. As David Deitcher observes, “One knows one’s past through pictures – through looking at and identifying with photographs that relate, however indirectly to one’s lived experience.” -Stacke
When one of Viviane Sassen’s images showed up at the Nasher Museum in “Becoming,” I had to pay attention. The image is called Arusha, presumably made in Tanzania. A woman wearing a thin black blouse, decorated with pale flowers and drenched in warm sun, is standing in front of lush green leaves. We see her from the waist up and her arms hang at her sides. Her head is tilted toward her right shoulder and her gaze, only visible through her right eye, confronts the viewer.