This ongoing portrait series signifies the importance of African settlers in Europe throughout history and present day. With these portraits of African immigrants (non- models) I wanted to show dignity, richness, beauty, and strength as well as remind viewers of the important contributions of Africans in European history. The work references the art of the Orientalist movement, and is inspired by the watercolor paintings of Josep Tapiro Baro in Tangier, Marocco. For centuries the West has often gazed at Africa looked through a lens which distors the reality of the continent's people and it's history. With the current surge of African immigrants in the West, these preconceived notions & stereotyping unfortunately often remain and are fueled by a lack of knowledge, understanding and the fear of the unknown. My Zimbabwean husband experienced this too when we moved from the African continent to the Netherlands nine years ago. This sparked my interest in how African people live in other places around the world and started this line of inquiry that interrogates how African people are presented in history and present. It is my hope that people are inspired to change their views, the way they see the world and each other.
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.