The Life of an Ambassador’s Wife


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The Life of an Ambassador’s Wife

Jan. 24, 2023, 5:00 a.m. ET
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By Theresa Traore Dahlberg

Ms. Traore Dahlberg is a filmmaker.

When I was filming my first feature film, “Ouaga Girls,” in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in 2015, I was introduced to the French ambassador’s wife. She asked me to film her singing opera, but as I walked into the opulent gardens of the ambassador’s residence, I asked if I could follow her in her daily life instead.

As the child of a Burkinabé father and Swedish mother, I spent my childhood traveling between Burkina Faso and Sweden. During the making of this film, I had a lot of conflicting thoughts and feelings. Walking down the aisle of perfectly manicured trees at the residency, I was reminded of the stories my grandmother used to tell me about when Burkina Faso was a French colony.

The short documentary above explores the complex and overlapping power dynamics of class, women’s roles and post-colonialism by holding a magnifying glass to the life of an ambassador’s wife, both protected and isolated by the residence walls.

Theresa Traore Dahlberg is a visual artist and filmmaker.

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