A Tale of Kinship/ Tribute to Mandinka Sisters in the new African Diaspora | book /series. 'Yelema' is the Mandinka word for 'Change' & 'Transformation'. Portrait series of sisters Binqui & Penda Mbaye from coastal Guinea Conakry. The sisters moved to Europe 8 years ago and are having to deal with multiple identities and separation issues. They lived apart in Guinea during childhood and were reunited in Europe when they followed family in the diaspora. Once here life has been challenging and all they have left now in Europe is each other. They are alone, depend fully on each others support and are trying to build a future. I wanted to pay tribute to their perseverance, resilience and strength. Photographed in the Dutch Countryside. Dutch artist Anton Mauve inspired. Also the movie 'Daughters of the Dust' inspired.
I studied Film and Photography in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. I graduated from the Dutch Film Academy in 1998 and worked as a TV and Film professional. I was missing a connection. In 2002 I moved to the African continent alone, packed with a filmcamera, in order to connect to something bigger: connect with wild natural places and the people. My connection towards Africa and its people strengthened when I initiated an organization that produced and used entertaining film series to educate children living in various African countries on being environmentally engaged. For many years I lived and became a part of communities in Tanzania, Botswana, Uganda and other countries, thus promoting a sense of connectedness that permeates through my photography work these days. I married into a Zimbabwean family and my husband and I settled in the Netherland 8 years ago. All these experiences have shaped and inspired my storytelling these days with a main focus on telling stories of the African Diaspora. I picked up photography again end of 2015. My narratives often align themselves with historical data that somehow relates to the contemporary subject that I'm photographing. I'm a change maker; I like to tell important stories, present the unknown, the beauty and strength of people, women and girls especially, and change the way people see the world and each other.