My mother is one of the few people I know that is in constant pursuit of perfection. Each action, movement and activity has a defined purpose and the goal is for it to be “perfect”. Remnants of a childhood spent in a Convent-style Finishing School in St Lucia, my Mother is grounded in this training. It travelled with her, within her. I enter my family home and observe my Mother diligently picking the imperfections from a mound of basmati rice - a ritual that is etched into the very fabric of her being; taught to her by her mother, her grandmother, and all the mothers that came before her. These rituals are a celebration of lessons handed down, an ode to the ancestors; and through this pursuit of perfection by my Mother has mastered the art of ritualising the everyday. Unwrapping the cocoa brought from back home as if unswaddling a newborn. Grating the cocoa and nutmeg with forensic precision, allowing only the slightest release of their aroma. Simmering spices in filtered water until the mixture reaches a precise amber in colour before adding the fragrant cocoa mix. My Mother scoops the cocoa tea using an old cup - just like her mother taught her, and pours into a mug that she selected. It is, in fact, perfect.
Yvonne E. Maxwell is a Saint Lucian-Nigerian documentary photographer whose work focuses on capturing the stories, culture and people from across the African Diaspora.
Images are copyrighted to Yvonne E. Maxwell