The year is 1992, I’m six years old and my mother and I are about to end one of our most extensive summer journeys. We have traveled around Peru and Bolivia and up to California, where I now stand amongst the giant Redwood trees and wild ferns. The trees nearly overwhelm me with their vitality and they make me feel very small.
Just a week before, we had been squeezed together inside a dusty minibus for several hours on our way to see my grandmother for the first time. She lived in her little mud house in the middle of nowhere, in the highlands of Bolivia, where the red soil and mountains magnifies themselves as only infinity can do. Meeting this little wrinkled lady, my grandmother, living her life as one with nature, was just true love.
We stayed with her for a couple of days, and I soaked in every moment, even when I was just helping her make soup, harvesting quinoa or lighting up the little mud stove. It became so real for me how different our everyday lives were. In the suburbs of La Paz her children, my aunts and uncles were struggling to make a living – doing their best to be part of the industrialization of the country. It was at this point my interest for natural resources and fair trade began.
Leaving the sky-high redwood trees behind us and heading back to our car, I was totally thrilled by sitting in the back of the Jeep with a fold-out-table listening to pop music. You could ask yourself if going from one extreme landscape to another, meeting different cultures had influenced me at all. The answer would be yes! Planting respectful values in one’s heads at a young age can only be beneficial.
Today, when I sit with my pencils trying to find inspiration for new prints, it often comes from my travels with my mum. You could say that I’m – literally – drawing lines back to the travels that shaped me. For example, the cocoa fruits from this collection represent some early concerns I had about the cocoa and coffee farmers when I first learned how their crops were traded.
Hello Diversity might be my most simplistic collection so far, but very often that is what I appreciate the most; the simple things. I hope you do too.
Photographer: Camilla Stephan
Photographer: Amanda Hestehave