Cara Louwman Photography

COMING SOON: the book ROOTING - Becoming Roots

Cara and Yuen Yee - two-sisters-in-law - embark on a journey to investigate their relationship with their ancestors. It was an investigation into how to bring their family histories into their own lives.

Cara's personal research was sparked by the heirloom objects in her Dutch family. More specifically a photo album with photos of her second great-grandparents' house in Rotterdam and the Japanese prints hanging on her mother's wall. What did they mean for her ancestors? What do they mean for her now? Working with these and other artefacts resulted in 'playing with her ancestors'. It was a way to connect with the people who are not here anymore.

For Yuen Yee the question was how to connect to both her Hong Kong-Chinese roots and her Dutch adapoted roots without denying either one. Because Yuen Yee did not have heirloom objects to work with, her reseacrch took her along oral family histories, family and public documents.

Despite the obvious differences between their histories Cara and Yuen Yee could discern general patterns. Neither of the families had a point of origin. Neither of the families belonged to one specific place. Both their families had been moving from one place to another, either within or across borders, according to their needs and the modes of transportation that were accessible to them. Be it driven by a sense of exploration and commerce, in search of better conditions to provide for their families, fleeing for their lives or away from destitution. The concept of roots became more and more free from location and time.

Cara and Yuen Yee are family. Meaning that this book is not about two seperate processess of rooting and becoming roots. They discovered that both families are unified and characterised by love for education, storrytelling, art, desire to contribute to society and a decisive role of Japan in changing the course of their family history.

That's why next to their own way of bringing their roots to the lived present, they interpreted each other's work: Cara by photographing Yuen Yee's family photographs, and Yuen Yee by interpreting Cara's work through words. By their bond, they give rise to the merging of families, the inoculation of roots, fortifying them.

The book will be published in 2020. You can pre-order your copy here soon.

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