Virtual Art Space

Catalog view is the alternative 2D representation of our 3D virtual art space. This page is friendly to assistive technologies and does not include decorative elements used in the 3D gallery.

Space Title

Looking Out, Looking Back Again

Within the World Titled Looking Out // Looking Over
Credited to Peter Basma-Lord
Opening date March 30th, 2022
View 3D Gallery
Main image for Looking Out, Looking Back Again


Last year I spent a few days speaking with my mum about her growing up between places and between people. This year I asked her how she found those conversations, and what she thinks of looking back in this way.

A document of my mum's formative years living between Sierra Leone, Lebanon, and England.

Of loss. Of longing. Of belonging.

3D Environment Description:

A small semi-spherical room with a video showing an interview with Lena Basma, the artist's mum, and a portal to another 3D space.

Artworks in this space:

Yeah. I think it's a good thing to do. I think it's not, it's important that not to get too wrapped up in the past, but the really good thing about it, you suddenly start to understand, perhaps not, you start to understand really why in the past, I start to understand why in the past I've behaved in the way that I have done, because when you, when you talk, when you put something altogether. You realize a complexity of what was going on to take you to a place. And then you then start to understand why you, your reactions to certain things are the way they are or why you were angry, you know? And you realize that perhaps, well, I realize perhaps that the way I perhaps dealt with a lot of the stuff that went on. Was I was actually probably quite angry inside and the anger came out very quickly, you know, so if I'd be okay. And then one little thing, a trigger which to other people would probably seem like nothing would take me from zero to 10 in angry mode very quickly, but that's probably because all that hurt and anger was there inside all time. And so it didn't really take much. It's like, you know, a needle in, you know like The final straw that the camel's back, so, as an observer and even me as an observer of myself, I probably didn't understand why, why I was so angry. I just knew that I was angry, but now looking back, I, I still get why, because it wasn't the thing that was happening that was making me angry. It was me trying to deal with all those emotions sort of subconsciously really, so having watched myself through that I sort of get it, and the nice thing about that. You stop blaming yourself as well. And then you get to a much calmer place in your life, you know, you know, getting to nearly 60 to get to where you calm is, is a bit odd, but it's, it's better now to be, to have found that. And I think watching that video helped and I think, yeah. Have you got the radio on or something?. That's Theo. Let me tell him to to turn it off. Can I? Theo, could you turn it down? Because we can't hear the interview. Sorry. That was Theo. Um, but you then, do you think it's stuff that you hadn't thought about out before? I was asking for a long time? You know, I probably had thought about them in snippets, like, you know, like little memories that would come back to me, but never really sort of thought about them as a whole journey of where I'd arrived and, and having seen that. And also the other thing it really did was it made me understand, Soraya and Adele a lot better. Why? Because they obviously went through the same journey as I did, but they both dealt with it slightly differently because Soraya didn't deal with it with anger. She dealt with it in a different way. And Adele also dealt with it in a different way, but we were all sort of dealing with the same thing and then it stopped me also being upset by things that Adele or Soraya might do, because I actually thought they've gone through all of this as well. And it isn't, I mean, it's not the worst thing, I'm sure. I mean, people go through a lot worse, but when you put the sort of continuous sort of, I suppose, emptiness that's, like I said, I think I said this in the video that this feeling of constant emptiness, which, you know, as a child is probably very difficult to, to understand as emptiness. You know, you just know that something's missing and then you perhaps just develop a way of reacting to it. Which for me, I think was anger. So, yeah. But then you, you, you said about like, not being good to dwell on things sometimes. Nostalgia not being good and stuff, but... yeah, because sorry, why? No. Why? Because I think it's fine. If you just sort of. You remember it and, and you just leave it there. But I think if you, if you sort of over dwell on things, you just can't move forward, you can't progress. I mean, there are things obviously that, that mold you, but I think sometimes you just have to let go of all this stuff that, that attaches it to yourself. And of course, but we are formed by those things. But we don't, if we allow them to, to restrict us, you know, and, and Soraya, Adele, and I, from an early age, we were so restricted by our grief that I think that, well, that did stop us developing emotionally properly. Um, and I suppose, because we also had no outlet for that grief, we weren't ever, it wasn't, we were never asked, you know, are you sad or. How you coping ? I mean, I think it, it was it's no, it wasn't anybody's fault. It was just a different generation people didn't they just thought that, you know, as a child you'd just get on with it, but then what you do as a child, you, you, you, you, you create your own coping mechanism and in that coping mechanism and that there's sort of stories that you tell yourself and those stories get fixed to you. And. They become part of the, a part of you that sometimes isn't great because although the coping mechanisms help you get through day to day, they're usually quite sort of draining. And for me, a lot of it was, it created fear, fear of loss and, and fear of yes, of feeling like that, again, What created that feeling? You know, sort of like. Say, worrying about because my mum died worrying about that that was gonna happen to other people that I loved and, and I was going to lose them. And then it made me fearful of that. And then with that fear, I created restrictions for other people. So I created restrictions for you, Theo , and Oliver which, you know, perhaps caused you some anxieties, which may not have been there had I, sort of dealt with that in the past. So, But do you think that, you know, you're saying, but this idea of like not dwelling on it and stuff, like, do you think you just didn't dwell on it at all for a long time? No, I dwelled on it a lot. I dwelled on it in my head, but not in a, not like in a whole, it like, like you created a picture, almost a map of my life. By going through that process of having the, um, interview and then by creating the art piece that you did allowed me to almost enter into my world, which was really nice to see in one world one group. But I, I don't think it's helpful to over dwell on things because I, it, it just, it does stop you moving forward. Um, But do you think that it needs. Like some outside influence in order to help it or not necessarily outside. I don't know. I'm just thinking like, you know, is that just like a catalyst or an alternate perspective kinda thing, having someone else I, whether to talk about or doesn't matter about the way it happens, but this kind of reapproaching the past. I think it was really, I mean, it, it was so good to do. Because one of the things that you said is that obvious that really I'd never really thought about before. Was that, from what I answered in the interview, you said, um, I didn't, you never, you had no control, you were never asked what you wanted to do. You were just put in places that, and that adults thought you should go. So there was, you had no control and I'd never really thought about it like that. And. So that doing that piece really allowed me to sort of, um, I suppose, understand myself a lot better, but I don't think I need to dwell on it. I just need to accept that that happened. And once I've accepted it and it's all, it's also stopped me perhaps a little bit feeling guilty about things that I've done in the past. Ways that I might have behaved that probably less than good. Um, and makes me realize that there's a reason why we do these things. It's not that I'm a bad person or it's just that, that was how I coped with stuff. Do you think the pushing against, um, the idea of dwelling on the past, is 'cos there's some idea of like, there's like a self-indulgence to it? Yeah, I think there's a balance. Isn't there, it's a balance of, you know, but it's like, you're aware of the past and I know it's there and I understand it. I don't want my memories erased um, and I know that they formed me and, but they don't have to, I don't have to. It's like, so I, I think it's, I dunno how I'm really to say this, but it's like, I need to detach from it. But without completely disassociating because I, you can't disassociate because it's, what's formed me to who I am now, and it is my past.

Artwork title


Artist name Peter Basma-Lord
A photograph of the artist's mum laughing.