FOTODOK presents the project When Summer Became Winter (2019 – ongoing) by Yara Jimmink. The outdoor installation at the yard of Het Utrechts Archief is open for visitors to view from the 14th of August until the 13th of September 2021. If you are interested in congratulating Yara you are more than welcome to join our informal gathering on the 13th of August at the yard of Utrecht Archives at 14.00u. Hope to see you then!
The artist tells about When Summer Became Winter
“My grandparents did something big. They travelled to the other side of the world, from Indonesia to the Netherlands, to build a new life. What did that mean to them? What must it have been like to swap a warm tropical environment for this small and cold country?
Studying the archive of family pictures passed on to me by my mother, I realised that I longed to understand my family’s history better and see how it shaped my own life. The few fragments and anecdotes that I had learned were not enough to put the whole story together. I searched for information to decipher the photographs. My grandfather Anis Samson and grandmother Mia Gerrits passed away, so I couldn’t ask them. My mother was six years old when she left former Netherlands New Guinea, and she couldn’t answer my questions. The only person who could help me make sense of the archive, identify people and the sequence of events, as well as to share personal memories, was my great-uncle Ka.
Although great-uncle Ka is not a direct blood relative, he has always felt like family. I call him ‘oom Ka’. He was a good friend of my grandparents, and he is the only surviving person from their generation I could contact. He was one of the first in our family circle who, with his family, left Sorong* for the Netherlands. My grandpa, grandma, and mother followed a year later in 1961, and travelled by boat from Ambon** to Genoa, and from there they took the train to their final destination: Amsterdam.
For days I hang on to uncle Ka’s every word and listen to his stories. I am able to see my history through his eyes and in this way learn new things about myself and my family. Through him I am able to connect the past with the present. Although it has no clear beginning or end, a new “present” rooted in my family’s history has emerged.”
- Sorong is a city in the West of the Indonesian province of West Papua. Between 1949 and 1962 West Papua was part of Netherlands New Guinea. Before that it belonged to the former Dutch-Indonesian colonial government. In 1962 it was handed over temporarily to United Nations and a year later to Indonesia.
- * Ambon is an island in the Moluccan archipelago, which is part of Indonesia. Its most important city is also called Ambon.
When Summer Became Winter is exhibited within the theme ‘collective memory’ that FOTODOK investigates in 2020-2021. Take a look at more projects that research how family photographic archives reflect larger historical events or epochs at virtual tour of the group exhibition ‘Pass It On. Private Stories, Public Histories‘ or get an exhibition in a box here.
Yara Jimmink (NL, 1990) is a documentary photographer who graduated from The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 2020. Yara focuses on various humanitarian themes such as migration, family, and collective memory. She uses the medium of photography to explore her own Indo-European background. With her work she hopes to encourage others to reflect on personal history and identity.
Curator: Daria Tuminas
Production: Martha Stroo
Design: Kummer & Herrman
Yara Jimmink thanks: Great-uncle Ka, grandmother Mia Gerrits, grandfather Anis Samson, Vera Samson, Sasabone Family.
FOTODOK thanks: the City of Utrecht, Mondriaan Fonds, Fonds 21, Pictoright Steunfonds, and Fentener van Vlissingen Fonds.
Image © Yara Jimmink