Dalya was born in Beirut. Their parents emigrated to Sweden when she was four years old. A place where she grew up and lived until she could decide where she wanted to be. When we saw each other, she was on her way home, she was coming to see her brother who lives in Palestine. A few years ago, she decided to go and try her luck in Barcelona. It is still there.
Their parents escaped from Iran when the Ayatollah revolution came in the eighties. His pilgrimage passed through Syria, Sweden, and Switzerland until they found political asylum in France. Now he lives in London. All that told me while we were waiting for a train in Hong Kong.
His family migrated from the mountains in the interior of Peru to the city of Lima before he was born. In the nineties, their parents could not take the economic situation any longer and left for Spain. Then he moved to Belgium. Since then everything has been a come and go in his life. And although he thinks he knows where he wants to be, he’s always coming back. About this and other things, we talked in a square in Lisbon. He was waiting for his girlfriend and I was waiting to go somewhere else.
These photographs attempt to re-construct a brief history of migration and its crossroads through random encounters. Fragments of lives that come and go in all possible and imaginable directions. Intertwined real stories, autobiography, and fiction. Portraits that wait and travel simultaneously through a world that does not finish reconfiguring itself of its contradictions.
Paula arrived from Medellín to Madrid, then to La Coruña, and ended up in Oporto. Twenty years ago she left, tired of everything. She feels like a hard-working woman. He told me that his grandparents fled from Prague before the first world war broke out.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Johannesburg, South Africa
The first time he went to an airport, it was to travel to Caracas. There he studies music. Then he traveled throughout the Caribbean researching this African heritage in popular music. We met by chance in a plaza in La Paz, Bolivia. Now he lives traveling and continues to study the history of Africa outside of Africa.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Nom Pem, Cambodia
I was walking aimlessly through the city of Chiang Mai when I met Takeshi. He is the son of the first immigrants from Japan in Brazil. He works with the silk trade. Traveling all over the east. And now that he has formed a family in Macao with the daughter of a Portuguese merchant, his roots begin to disperse again. He told me all that while I took this picture.
Andrés lived illegally for a while in Canada until he obtained his residence. Meanwhile, he managed as best he could. He would like to return to Nicaragua someday he told me while we were waiting for the bus to cross the border.
As he told me after crossing on a bridge in Prague. He arrived in Europe fifteen years ago, after a long journey. First of a cousin in Paris and in Rotterdam from a friend until he could save some money to move to Italy. Meanwhile, he worked selling anything on the street, but once he could legalize his situation he left the street, and with other colleagues from his country, he set up a Senegalese restaurant. This allows him to help part of his family in Dakar. I followed my journey to the east and he stayed waiting.
Thanks to his brother, Qyu arrived in Barcelona with the changes to the Olympic Games in 1992. Before all that, he tried to live in Australia but was deported. He was able to open his own hairdresser and he tries to go to the casino almost every weekend. He wants to go back to China next year and visit his family. After talking for a while I kept walking.
I was waiting on an abandoned bridge in a metropolitan area. Then came Juana. We started talking about the meanings of the wait. He told me: "I arrived in Europe, after living illegally in the United States. All this journey was about ten years. Now I live in Copenhagen. Although I have days that I feel nostalgic. " She continued north towards the house of some friends. I stayed waiting.
We were in a coffee shop in Marseille. City where friends and family live. Twenty years ago he crossed from Tangier to Algeciras and he would not stop explaining all the similarities between these two cultures. Married to a woman of German origin and Turkish parents. His children speak four languages, but with him, they speak Arabic. Now they are thinking about moving to Kassel. Then each one took his own path.
Elyas arrived alone and with just a few contacts. First, he lived in Athens, Hamburg, and finally in Valencia where he met his wife. A woman from Egypt, strong and intelligent. He has two daughters. Every year he tries to return to his village and not forget his roots. "Sometimes it is very difficult to try to understand and make sense of life on this planet as we have designed," he told me at the same time I had just arrived from another place.