‘I learned that the feeling of being at home is not necessarily connected to “roots”. Who you are is determined by so many factors, of which descent is just one. People have so many identities within themselves, which in addition are not fixed, but in motion. For children like Noah, different identities go together effortlessly. Ultimately, we are all more alike than we think.’
Voyage à Dakar (2020)
In the video installation Voyage à Dakar, Judith Quax and her Dutch-Senegalese son Noah (4) travel overland from Amsterdam to Dakar, Senegal. They travel in the opposite direction of the flow of migration, to reach the country of his father and Senegalese family. Quax and her son live in the Netherlands. Noah’s father is an undocumented Senegalese migrant living in New York. While mother and son travel freely through the world, Noah’s father and many other Senegalese relatives are tied to a single place. After a journey of more than 5,700 kilometres, Noah meets his African family. From a child’s perspective, Noah keenly reveals what lies at the root of issues around migration: ‘Mommy, are we in Dakar or in Europe now?’
The multimedia installation at the Amsterdam Museum is a poetic experience of the journey, comprising themes such as desires, dreams, memories, identity, family ties, cultures, and the place where you are. The journey is recorded from beginning to end by a camera mounted in the front of the car. It produces unique visual material, where the shifting landscape between Amsterdam and Dakar forms the background for the conversations in the car and the encounters.
Judith Quax (Alkmaar, Netherlands, 1973) is a photographer and visual artist based in Amsterdam. Since 2006 she has been researching and photographing migration from West Africa to Europe. The starting point in her work is how people move in their nomadic and transnational life and relate to their changing surroundings, underscoring a fundamental contrast between memories and their current reality. Quax’s work has been extensively exhibited both nationally and internationally.
Photo credit: Filmstills from Voyage à Dakar, 2020
Video editing: Caitlin Hulscher
Sound editing: Rob Van De Schootbrugge
Texts Leuk-the-Hare: Leopold Sedar Senghor
Reading Leuk-the-Hare: Adama Coulibaly
Trumpet: Judith Quax
Thanks to Paradox en Peter Claassen
This project is partially sponsored by