08.26.13
John Thackara | Essays

Connecting With The Other



“I arrived in Toulon at the age of 29 with my seven year old daughter”

“I was born in Burkina Faso but came to France when I was four following a coup d’etat”

“My ancestors were the Siharaba in the region of of Lake Alaotra in the rice growing region of Madagascar”

“I come originally from Kurdistan, in the town of Silopi, at the heart of the fertile region between the Tigris and the Euphrates”

A hand, a map, a story. Thirty unknown people, of diverse nationalities and backgrounds, have left their native land: Algeria, Vietnam, Senegal, Russia, Argentina, Salvador, Armenia, Iraq.

In each of the 30 photographs, made by Céline Boyer, a cartographic fragment of their country of origin is projected onto the subject’s own hand: Cities, seas, rivers, roads and borders are glimpsed.

These images are accompanied by short texts. The hands’ owners share their memories, hopes, and fears. They speak of ancestors, roots and culture, of unfinished personal journeys.

By connecting the uniqueness of a person, and a place, each subject engages our attention without becoming an object of ethnographic curiosity. The Other becomes a person.



Empreintes, by Céline Boyer, published by Parenthèses. (It’s in French, but someone should publish it in English).

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