A Journey of Conditional Love

On December 1960 my mother and family first were introduced to the United States from Aruba. Welcomed by the freezing wind and snow of New York City, their introduction was anything but familiar. However it was an embrace that brought them opportunities that their 19-mile island could never have surmounted. Their transition into the land of the free cost them parts of their identity. Their way with words lacked its slow-cooked flavor when mandated to take hours of grammar classes on how “the” does not sound like “da”. And while my mother was bussed off to an all white primary school in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn during the integration of schools, she found refuge returning to Crown Heights in the evening, a community bustling with Caribbean immigrants.

When judgment is reduced to their tone of skin, the inflections in their speech and the culture they hold dear, the narratives of millions of Caribbean immigrants seem bittersweet. However with a culture so rich & deep, there is much to celebrate and that is what A Journey of Conditional Love achieves. Through documenting the food, nature, people and culture of 4 Caribbean islands through collage, this project highlights that the influence, strength and history of West Indian people can never be belittled or buried in the name of assimilation.