Keywords: Womenmigrants, Belonging, Migration
In this project, There is a Blue Sky Today and No Rain, I create a photographic exploration about a generation of women in exile in the Netherlands, how their identity is constructed and deconstructed from their current land and the one they left behind. And again space stepping in, transmitting our interior through its tangible effect on our mass.
I spent the last year documenting the aftermath that occurs after finding new soil to safely step on. Their physical belongings may not be theirs anymore, but the emotional baggage that comes from the situational and physical process of relocation is free, sponsored by life itself. The images I produced explore the new day-to-day landscape of women. The struggle of inserting yourself into society with its rules and contradictions, that may or may not match what you used to know as safe and acquainted. Those women are in a kind of archaeological restoration program, where they try to build and construct a new life over the ruins of their past losses. Their homes are under construction, their bodies are under construction, their finances are under construction, the paradigm of who they are is shifting waters and finding blue skies.
In this project I might visualise emotions, or I might hide them. We might be cruel or kind. We might be nice or nasty. We might be happy, or we might be angry. I can show and do whatever I want with photography, and that is what I love about it. The camera captures the full spectrum of emotional response. The aim in this project is to provide a space for my women to be whomever they want. This project is my truth, and my attempt to reinvent the truth. It is my offering to you.
THERE IS A BLUE SKY TODAY AND NO RAIN: INTERIOR LANDSCAPES OF WOMEN IN EXILE IN THE NETHERLANDS
Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement. ― Edward W. Said
My thesis aims to explore the personal narratives and complex emotional landscape of the lives of a small group of young women and girls living in exile here in the Netherlands. The work will reflect on our life journeys, and it will seek to project forward toward futures both real and metaphorical. Many of these women, including myself, are in phases in life where they are challenged to construct identities within new cultural contexts and geographies of power, as well as within their memories and the nostalgic representations of the past they possess. My goal is to explore our emotional interior landscape in light of the changes that we go through. To explore them, describe them in vignettes of conversation, talk about them, and reveal them. In this process, I come to a point of exhaustion and depression, a flat landscape. I aim to create a memory archive of our emotions and feelings that are often lost in histories of migration and displacement, including nostalgia, not feeling much at all.
My thesis responds to these questions: How do women in exile cope with their emotions in the process of constructing a new identity? How does the changed social and familial context lead to new ways of managing novel emotional experiences? How can we explore this complex interior emotional landscape in a visual way?