For over fifteen years, artist and photographer Maya Økland (b. 1980) has been documenting her travels to Brazil, the homeland of her mother. As a participating observer with an attentive gaze, she has photographed encounters with close family members, more distant relatives and places spread over large parts of the country. The camera is her tool for exploring family relations and to familiarize herself with the surroundings. These travels and meetings have eventually resulted in the photographic series Stranger in Motherland, now presented in book form for the first time. The book is a temporary stop in the journey, and consists of photographs from four in a total of five travels Økland did between 1999 and 2013. Portraits are shown alongside landscapes, interiors and detailed close-ups. The book could be compared to an exhibition where the selection, order and compilation of images create new visual narratives. It can also remind of a photographic album where people are recognized from image to image, and the changes in their appearance can be seen through time. Simultaneously the book breaks with the photo album´s linear logic; we meet the recent encounters first and turn the pages backwards in time – like an archeologist or genealogist exploring layers of history.
Text: Helga Nyman
Buy the book here.