“Moving away is like trying to forget the past.” Melia lost two of her daughters, Yakairah and Destiny during hurricane Maria.

“Yakairah loved taking these flowers home when we walked back from school. She always collected so many. She was crazy about them.” In memory of Yakairah.

“Destiny was always the light in the darkness.” In memory of Destiny.

Daina would pick up bright red hibiscus flowers and weave them into her hair whilst I was working on the portraits in their house. Daina is the sister of Destiny and Yakairah.

“Since the hurricane I cannot look out of the window and look at the river.” Elizabeth lost her grandson, Jerome, during hurricane Maria. Eight more of Elizabeth’s family members died when the river entered the house, that used to sit next to hers and completely destroyed it.

“On the night of the storm I could not go to sleep. In the middle of the night I made myself a bush tea with herbs and smoked.” - said Hilroy, who was buried under a landslide inside his house during tropical storm Erika in 2015.

“Of course, I used to have garden behind my house. Now I am too old to tend the land but before I planted ground provisions and all kind of herbs.” Henry, or as everybody calls him, Poly is a paternal great uncle of Destiny and Yakairah.

“Only who knows it, feels it. and will never forget it.” Sylvestre lost his mother Veronica after hurricane Maria.

“Look at this stream. Most of the year it does not reach wider than ten centimeters. You can easily step it over. Look just in front of us. There used to be a house. Now there is nothing.” Cyril and his grandson, Rion. The wife of Cyril, Veronica, died in the aftermath of hurricane Maria.  

Rosevelt, or Ras Osy, is the father of Royston, who died when his house was destroyed by the river during hurricane Maria.

The leaves of root plants (dasheen, yam, tania) that are widely used in Dominican cuisine can be found in most personal gardens. Due to their everyday presence in local landscapes such plants bear an intrinsic connection to the cultural memory of the country.

These plants became the canvas of my work, while ferns, vines, flowers also featured, intending to pay homage to Dominicans’ broader human connections to the plant world and preserve memory in a fragile way.

After exhibiting this work locally I offered the original prints to the families of those they featured. 

While the premises of domination of nature is spread by Western culture reaches all corners of our planet, Away with the river attempts to portray a cultural landscape that bears strong feelings of belonging and confidence in nature. Where daily human life is dependent on the immediate natural surroundings; and where nature is considered both a threat to life and a key to recovery after a disaster.


The last prints, reviving memories of the two daughters of Melia came into existence in the backyard where Destiny and Yakairah lost their lives. While I was working in their backyard Melia often stood next to me looking at the prints sharing quiet intimate moments. I offered that she could make the prints of her daughters by herself but she refused. She told me that she could not. 

After the exhibition, one day before I left the island I gave my materials to her. My last journey the next day led to her house for a goodbye, where she prepared a gift for me. 

Two prints that she made for herself and kept away from the sunlight which would claim them back ahead of time. The pictures of her two lost daughters.

In picture: a print is being made of a woman who requested her portrait to be made with the method after seeing the exhibition in Roseau.

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