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Annelies Damen

‘The Indies were our paradise’ | Annelies Damen

Photographer Annelies Damen created her latest photo series during her trip to Indonesia in October last year. She travelled throughout Java and Bali to visit places where her grandmother lived, worked and spend her holidays. The photo series of Annelies Damen consists partly of a poetic travel story in 31 images and partly of double images, in which old portraits are combined with the contempary landscape. The series were exhibited in the Gorcums Museum.

Annelies: My Grandmother Riek came from the Dutch East Indies. She was always telling stories about her former paradise: with the smells, the tastes and the flowers. About fifteen years ago Grandma started talking about the difficult times she had experienced in the Indies: the World War II and later the Japanese prison camp. She spoke of the happiness she felt when she found out her husband was still alive and how they found each other again in Bangkok. Then came the difficult years when the Indo-Dutch people (people of mixed descent with Dutch citizinship) were forced to leave the Republic of Indonesia.To me my grandmother was an original, strong and inspiring woman. She travelled with my family around the world until the age of 95. She loved to read many books, knew exactly what was going on in the world and was always very interested in my whereabouts and projects. In April 2010 my Grandma passed away at the age of 96. In October 2010 I travelled for a month through Java and Bali to visit all the places that were important in my Grandma’s life. I wanted to smell the scents and see the colours she always talked about. With my camera I made a visual story with my grandmother Riek as my sole inspiration. In my thoughts she travelled with me.