Mariama Wurie

In a world often dominated by power dynamics and elitist structures, Mariama Wurie emerges as a beacon of authenticity, pluralism and people-power— challenging norms of fear and silence,in her debut independent short film series, Slow Mornings.  

A promising learning experience designer and thought leader, Mariama’s work is deeply rooted in her commitment to questioning harmful social norms, and dreaming up collective solutions for transformative change— for the arts, for gender justice, for education justice and overall economic development. Mariama has already served her country’s education sector as a specialist at the World Bank, where she led research and development for gender-responsive and inclusive education programming, and EdTech innovation. She’s also Sierra Leone’s leading current affairs journalist— featuring the most exciting Salone voices and stories across BBC and CNN Africa programs over the last four(4) years. So what were we to expect when Slow Mornings hit our WhatsApp group chats and YouTube pages on March 8th? well, it is the radical honesty we never stop needing.

An excellent polymath, Mariama is a multi-disciplinary army disrupting Salone patriarchy and more. This dry-season her weapon of choice is the visually striking chaos of Freetown’s half done kitchens, a lazy Saturday sipping shots of a blurred brown liquor, and the decadence of the city’s burgeoning luxury real-estate— dowsed in talk of politics, work-place sexual harassment and the loss of loved ones. It almost makes absolutely no sense until you realise that, this is Sierra Leone— so actually, everything makes perfect sense.

Reflecting on Mariama’s insights on her inspiration for the project, it’s clear that her motivations are rooted in a desire to create “art for art’s sake”. She almost sings this like a repeated chorus in a song. She shares that our existence is art, and we should continue to define ourselves through it— “it” being both existing and recognising our existence as art— before it is perpetually done for us, in her opinion.

Slow Mornings is curated and hosted by the digital art community, People Places Purpose or PPP— led by Wurie and friends across the globe from Ethiopia to Mexico and India.  Having only soft launched with Slow Mornings, PPP is set to release “beautiful brilliant stuff” or “dope shi*”— as they call it— from around the world, throughout this year.  The collective includes edgy, quirky, and down right artsy creatives to be revealed through raining season till December— with the intent to just make good art and cool stuff. Mariama says they do not see themselves as the voice of the minority, changing the world. Rather, they view themselves as amplifiers of diverse voices, embracing change and celebrating creativity and culture through their unique lens of inclusivity and innovation, striving to inspire, connect, and uplift communities worldwide.

“We are the global majority. We are what’s popular and what everyone is consuming. We make art to simply celebrate how dope and beautiful our skin, hair, love, aesthetic, songs, and films are. It’s art of art’s sake. But I recognise that in a world where the minority don’t want us to exist, our very existence is both art and revolution”— says Wurie. 

Nike Frances on Party Politics, Respecting Men, Wam Att & Domestic Violence

Slow Mornings is a natural first choice for PPP. For 5 to 9 minutes you are invited into the intimacy of the homes, minds, and hearts of an everyday human from a global majority country. A literal embodiment of the project’s title, when watching you must necessarily slow down and lean into the moment of not knowing where the camera is going to take you next, as you sip on the piping hot tea that is a Sierra Leonean rant.

For older audiences, Mariama Wurie’s cinematic vision in “Slow Mornings” mirrors the fearless storytelling of acclaimed filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Like DuVernay, known for her impactful works such as “Selma” and “13th,” Mariama uses her artistry as a catalyst for social change and cultural celebration. Truly appealing through seasons and cultures and surely worth your precious mindful moments.

Mariama says the dramatic cinematography was intentional. Complete with jump cuts, random camera pans, and warm strolls through the walls of family photos, the films are like walking around someone’s closet whilst they tell you their hottest gist. If you’re cooking whilst watching, they are stunning visual podcasts with soundscapes like honey and an eye-grasp like a wine dance. They are indeed an aesthetic “love letter to real conversations”. Five short films or episodes have been released to date, and Wurie has promised 5 more throughout the year to complete Part I of the project. According to their director, we are to expect even more magical madness.

Binta Akibo-Betts on Grief: Being Intentional & the SL EDSA

Film by film review:

Binta Akibo-Betts on Grief: Being Intentional & the SL EDSA
A prolific millennial voice, Binta Akibo-Betts features in the first Slow Morning’s film candidly holding a public navigation of grief and acceptance from losing her brother and father— who we learn she was extremely close with. She manages to laugh about the electricity going out in the middle of being filmed, and ends somewhere in an off-camera conversation that appears to be between herself, Mariama and third party almost inaudibly discussing wifi passwords and Mariama’s siblings as the screen flips through shaky stills of her home space to the beat of a lo-fi RNB drum.

Fidel Bright and Marco Koroma on Generational Crushes, Rich Aunties, SL Creatives, and Harassment
Inexorably Gen-Z, this film introduces creatives Marco and Fidel to a new audience— perhaps in Mariama’s generation— bridging worlds. Casually knocking back some sort of spirit, our gentlemen woefully ponder the sexual harassment they witness their female colleagues experience, they reflect on their work— including the adequately hyped Gbam Gbaode Festival, and they talk generational patterns in dating. 

Dereque Davies on SL Politics, Pineapples & Spiritual to Physical Portals

Dereque Davies on SL Politics, Pineapples & Spiritual to Physical Portals
At this point in the Slow Mornings series, we stroll through what is surely the most modern-minimalist, yet luxurious house one might ever see. It’s either this or the unavoidably handsome (like GQ model handsome) Dereque Davies that will first catch your attention. Unless you’re staunchly political or a patriarch, in which case, you’re captivated by his opening lines calling for an end to multi-party politics in Sierra Leone— or something he says along the lines of women not being inferior to men. Either way, he picks fresh pineapples from his personal garden next to a newly built dive pool, and answers family phone calls on camera as well.

Something in this 5-minute concoction is bound to lull you into a head spin of critical thinking— which we suspect was Mariama’s true hidden agenda in creating art for art’s sake.

Written by: arianadiaries

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.