The series has its origins following the passing of Metaferia’s mother in 2016. In her grief, Metaferia began to use performance, archives, inherited objects, and the photograph as a way to carry her mother’s legacy with her into the present. Metaferia’s mother, Maigenet Shifferraw, was a political organizer who worked across women’s rights to end child marriages, free Ethiopian political prisoners, and much more. Shifferraw and Metaferia’s father, Getachew Metaferia, a professor, came to the United States for school with the intention of returning to Ethiopia, but the outbreak of the Ethiopian Civil War in 1974 made that an impossibility. In a catalogue interview with “Generations” curator Michelle Millar Fisher, Metaferia explained that her parents would have likely faced imprisonment due to their activist and educator professions. Metaferia’s roots in activism are informed by her parents’ displacement from Ethiopia and their organizing in Washington, D.C., where they eventually relocated and Metaferia was born and raised.
Metaferia’s balancing of the personal and the political within social spaces is evident in the video installation The Response (2021)—featured in “All Put Together”—which follows the participatory workshop Metaferia held in the spring of 2021 with Black, Indigenous, and people of color living in Boston. Specifically foregrounding women and nonbinary people in social movements, the event was a continuation of the participatory performance workshops Metaferia organizes, in which she uses institutional space and critique as a way to repair the harm inflicted upon women of color within those spaces.