The Yakel

Story featured in LINDA. Zomerboek 2020. In march 2019 I travelled to Tanna – a remote island in the Melanesian archipelago of Vanuatu. It was my ultimate dream to capture one of the last tribal communities living there, the Yakel. Also, I was secretly hoping to get an answer to my question: why were they considered being amongst the happiest nations on earth? After an intense trip I reached their beautiful village which was surrounded by the most incredible kinds of green. It was their respect for Mother Nature that touched me deeply, just as their non-materialistic and community based living. When I eventually asked why they were constantly smiling, they all replied the same: they had food , they were free and they had each other. They simply had no reason to complain.

Sustainable Art 
I continually strive to lessen the impact that manufacturing has on the environment. Therefore I use FineArt inkjet papers made of raw plant fibers that grow quickly, don’t require pesticides, and don’t need optical brighteners. Besides eco-friendly, the result is a museum quality for high age resistance print with a rough, yet delicately defined surface texture that gives the subject a captivating sense of depth. When it comes to framing I use ‘baklijsten’ made of compressed wood. These frames give the print a floating 3D effect. The advantage of a ‘baklijst’ is that the entire photo remains visible and it does not partially disappear behind the edge of the frame.

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While traveling on Tanna I incurred a serious foot infection, which confronted me with the lack of good medical health care on the island. Therefore I donate 10% of the sales profits to the Loanialu Health Clinic – a private initiative of the Australian nurse Jeannie, whom I crossed paths with and helped me out during that period.