Meet Sinota

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I’m born in Cameroon, and I have been growing between France and Spain. So I am a mix of everything. My origins are from Cameroon and Nigeria, but as I didn’t receive an education from both parts, I’m not seen as Cameroonian or Nigerian.

I have spent my first 12 years in Ascain, French Basque Country in the south of France, then was in Ibiza with my mother until my 14 years old. Before to study in boarding school in Madrid, before to study between different cities in Spain and France. I’m in Barcelona since 2015, and I feel more from here then the other places I’ve been living before.

I say I’m from Barcelona, even if I don’t speak Catalan and don’t feel Spanish or Catalana, either as French or Nigerian. I don’t think Catalan, but I’m from the city. I am part of those many souls that needed a change in their life and they fell in love with Barcelona because it’s an easy city, because international, because it’s creative, because it’s easy to live. So I feel from this city. But I don’t like frontiers so I don’t put a title on ‘I’m Spanish, or French, Catalan, Cameroonian or Nigerian.. Because I’m a mix of everything.

As most African children that are born in Africa, but grown here, when I go to my country, for example, I can’t express myself in my native language, like in my mother tongue, I can’t speak with my grandparents or my uncles and my cousins. Because of that you will be called the white children, and will be rejected for it. And in Europe, even if you are grown here, people will remind you that, you can’t be from here, and also will reject you for it. Reminding your origins, where you come from, how live the people of your original country, which mentality they have, what kind of things they say when you are there, the way to approach problems. Is a strength to survive here.

Photo by Juanca

order cenforce no prescription What was your biggest struggle with your appearance? 

It would be my teenage time. First, because I was in Ibiza, I lost all my childhood friends and the identity that I built in France. Once again I was different from the others. But I also had the normal struggles like acne, and body development, and also hair growth. I remember I was really young and I was dressed in my brother’s stuff. I was feeling good in men’s clothes and I wanted to do everything that my brother did, I was copying everything he was doing.

Once when we went to holiday in Ibiza and my mother forgot my luggage so I only had my brother’s clothes and my mom was like ‘we can buy you clothes, but then they will be dresses’ and I was like ‘I don’t want dresses’. I think I was 12 and I spent my first week in the same outfit. This was the year before we moved there. The first day I bought a dress I was all hairy, and my mother said ‘a girl can’t walk with all those hair, you have to shave it’ When I started to discover I’m a girl and I can’t do this and I can’t do that. Ibiza has been a period that impacted me more as a woman.

When I got into school there I was dressed as a guy basically, or with the old clothes of my mother, I can tell that Vintage wasn’t back yet.. And all the girls in the school were one year older than me, very feminine, taller, beautiful blonde girls with blue eyes. I was smaller, with little boobs and acne and my little hair that I didn’t want to remove because I was comfy with it. Dark skinned with 4c Hair, not speaking well Spanish..

I was bullied because I was black and a Tomboy because ‘you don’t have boobs, you have acne, you don’t shave and you don’t have girls clothes’. Also I wasn’t speaking Spanish very well. The security in myself was gone. We had our group of bullied people in the school.

But after 14 my body was pretty developed and the problem had been another one, to always have people after you because of the body and you are like ‘I’m 14 years old girl’.

That has been a super big change in Ibiza. We don’t have so much black community, so in many native people mind:  you are a black woman you are basically a prostitute coming from a poor family.

I remember one time I was coming back from school with my mother and an old man stopped us and asked ‘how much is it morenitas? ‘ And I was 14 with my mother and my school bag. The sexualization of black girls very young was the other part I was feeling bad because I was sexualized as a black little girl. Only black women can understand what is the sexualization of young black girls or black women in general. So I passed from rejection to hypersexualization of my body.

I still struggle sometimes, because if you are sexualized all the fucking time, people don’t valorize the other parts of you, maybe what you have to say, intelligence, potential, or maybe people think that life is easier for you, because you look attractive. And it’s not true, sometimes it’s worse because they just see you as a sexual object, because you look attractive and I’m sorry but this world is still ruled by men. There’s still the stereotype of this powerful, hetero white men that sexualize women. It’s not so easy because you arrive somewhere and it’s like ‘let’s get the negrita’, and not listen to what she has to propose.

Photo by Juanca

When do you feel most beautiful?

I feel beautiful when I feel good. When I’m happy, when I feel connected with my presence. When I feel that I’m living what I have to live and feeling peace. But I think it’s like everybody. When you are in a bad moment in your life you lose self-confidence, you lose self-love.

What makes you sad?

A lot of things actually. What makes me sad is that we don’t really know what is the reality of the world we are living in now.

Our generation is the result of the evolution of technology, we have a lot of information, we have the internet, so we are advanced and we don’t know how to take all this knowledge that we have. So now we don’t know what we have to believe about everything, about the system, about what we have been studying at school, about the people we have been voting, we are not sure about anything. We know that there are many manipulations in everything. I don’t like injustice, I don’t like bad energy, jealousy, disrespect and when I see all this it makes me sad. And it’s hard to not be depressed in this world, because when you are more sensitive to energy you are more emotional than others and you feel more those things. And maybe because of my sensitivity I am able to create. I think most of the artists, we are like catalyzers, we receive the energy from what is around us and try to express something with our creation, we try to express what we feel about our world, how we see it. It’s hard to be neutral in certain cases, and not be affected or worried, scared about tomorrow.

What makes me happy can make me sad too, life itself and the world itself.

Photo by Julia Malinowska

I have a collection of clothes, and a collection of paintings, and I’ve been organising events named Diaspora Expo. After the lockdown I’ve been thinking ‘we’ve all been separated, now that I start again I want to call my project  Heilbad Heiligenstadt TOGETHER’.

Because I am not alone anymore, I have these people who are helping me, men, women, hetero, gay, everything, so I won’t call it diaspora, because diaspora is about one community spared around the world.

It can be from racial to sexual orientation to gender. And during the summer last year I saw this as a separation, as a title. Maybe people gave these titles to give visibility to minorities but doing this you also separate yourself. You know like, this is a gay party so it’s only for gay people, this is an Afrobeat party, so it’s for black etc etc.

I was tired of this, and I wanted to create something with music where we can all dance, let’s find a way to join communities, to join Together and you just spend the day on the beach with people you don’t know from all around the world and without these titles.

After summer I started to collaborate with another artist and we did one event in autumn, which was about solidarity. We have been able to get money to help fund some orphans in Cameroon and help 16 families with soap, food, things to shower. And also in Barcelona we have been able to buy sleeping bags for 15 people that live in the street here, because it was in winter. So that was the first one, and the second one was in Barceloneta, where we were collaborating with another organisation. Here also a percentage from consumption like the food and the drinks were going to charity, not just the entrance.

It’s true that if we want things to change we have to remember the story, to value that we are all different. Saying that we are all equal is a lie, because there are five different continents with very different cultures and depending on your culture you don’t think the same, you don’t act the same.

It’s good to denounce and to speak, we have not been able to speak for many years, so I understand that. But also doing that I see a lot of separation.

I am a mix of everything. It’s true that there are common things to black people, but there are common things to white ones and we have all those differences.

So if we really want to go to the future, maybe it’s better to stop talking about the past all the time and speak about the future and enjoy the present together. There is a way to be together and enjoy it without speaking about the past all the time.

For me art is the best way you know? Because it makes you feel, because an artist creates to express something, and you receive it and you can fall in love with an art from the other side of the world and say like ‘I hate — people’ and love a painting and the artist is —. That’s the beauty of art.

What does freedom mean to you?

Freedom for me is the fact of being yourself. Accepting your good and bad side and living with it. Being so secure and aware about who you are that you are not scared about it. That someone come to you and say ‘you are like this’ and you say like ‘yes, I do’ because you accept your wrong and your best. Knowing who you are and able to live with your way of being, not trying to change others or to not have the need to be loved by others. For me someone who is free is someone that is itself without the fear to be stupid, without the fear to not be accepted, not be loved, to fail.

It’s hard because when you are free people love you for that and hate you for that too. For that some people are scared to be free, because for the same things that someone congratulates you others will try to take you down. I feel like a free person because I don’t care, basically I do what I want. You know as descendent I try to pay my bills with people’s opinion and it didn’t work. Now I do my things, what I have in this life I fought for it. All the people that surround me and appreciate me I fought for this respect and love.

Sometimes it’s hard because life and people show you that you don’t have to be that free and you will see what I do to your freedom. Sometimes you don’t event want to go out from your house because people are hating you for being what you are. But the thing is again, like respect your freedom, and be sure, that I am who I am and I am what I have. You have nothing but yourself. It’s the only thing you own since you were born and you don’t own it to no one, you are not in debt with it.

As an independent woman, bisexual, artist, extroverted. I feel free.

Photo by Juanca