Mi Madre Vuelve A Sus Raíces | My Mother Returns to Her Roots

My mother, Gina, was born in Manta, Ecuador, on September 12, 1966. When she was only eight years old her older sister Estrella boarded my mother, five other siblings, and my grandmother on a plane to Venezuela. My mother didn’t leave Venezuela until she was 30 when her, my dad and I moved to Florida. Now at 50 years old, my mother finally got the chance to go back to the country she was born in yet knows so little of—Ecuador. For two weeks I followed her around with my 35mm film camera documenting her experience. How did my mother move through 42 years of history, politics and performance of identity in her native country?


I observed the duality of her experience: acting as a tourist and connecting to her family. She exhibited a delicate balance between knowing and learning, remembering and forgetting, seeing and feeling, connecting and disconnecting. My mother navigated through the map of her early childhood through memories of relatives. She saw where she and her 16 brothers and sisters were born. She visited her father’s grave for the first time. She walked through the isolated pueblo, Las Pampas, where her mother raised several children before relocating to a bigger city, Manta. Here she met her half sister for the first time. In Guayaquil, she finally hugged her eldest brother.


This was my first time in Ecuador as well. My mother and I experienced an awakening of the senses beyond the surface. Simply put: we hold a deep gratitude, knowing and understanding of our roots.


Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Photo by Andrea Sarcos Photography.
Using Format