October 3, 2023

Family Encounter by Veronica Otero

Family Encounter: together we share an emotional burden

This photographic project documents Zozan Yasar, a 29-year-old Kurdish woman, on her first family encounter. Two years have passed since she was forced to flee her homeland, Turkey, as a consequence of experiencing arrests and continuous harassment due to her journalistic work.

She constantly feels the hardship of this reality combined with extreme loneliness and grief. These powerful emotions have left indelible marks on her memories. In March 2019, she could finally reunite with her mother and other siblings in person. This brief visit took place in Iraqi Kurdistan – a country that is home for none of them, but “the closest to a home” as Zozan says during our interview.

The 36 photographs were taken over just a couple of days at the end of March, the visual interview took place in August in London, 2019. On the accompanying captions, Zozan shares painful memories and experiences and her own reflections on how leaving her family, country, and culture of birth in order to seek a safer life in the UK affects her.

By integrating intimacy while drawing explicit attention to the role of emotions, this project explores questions on the interrelationship between emotional narratives of separation across contexts of migration experiences, questioning how are emotions taken into account by different actors, from policy developers, administrators and public attitudes to the migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers? what tools exist to help stabilise and address the mental wellbeing of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees? and is there really a space to consider emotions?


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