Ananna Rafa

Conversations and Observations from the Land of Rivers

In 2018, I returned to my birthplace, Dhaka Bangladesh, to document and reconnect with my ailing grandmother, Rani. What started as a documentary project on my grandmother turned into a navigation of my own identity and revisiting family histories.

Encompassing themes of motherhood, identity and the politics of domestic labour in Bangladesh, this series consists of a collection of photographs, poetry and conversations which maps the memories of my childhood, to reconcile my present-day ties to my motherland and family history.

From 2018-2019 I had shot an archive of over 100 photographs in Bangladesh.

I felt a yearning for two geographic locations, with two distinct relations, my current home Toronto, Canada, and my birthplace, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Yet, I belonged to neither.
What was foreign became familiar, what was familiar became foreign.

The moments that are captured within these photographs, and in the aftermath of, speak to my anxieties about womanhood, cultural displacement, a fragmented immigrant identity and my struggle to reconnect with strained familial relations.

Ananna Rafa is a photographer and painter based in Toronto, Canada. Her work oscillates between places, memories, and identity, engaging with themes of immigration and post-colonialism. She primarily works with analog technologies and is passionate about arts education in the gallery space.