My Family, 2010-2012

The series ‘My Family’ was created from old photographs in Barbara Broekman’s family photo archive. The pictures show snap shots taken during key points in the lives of Broekman, her twin sister Else, and her daughter Laura. They were taken at various locations in and around Amsterdam, all places that are very dear to Broekman and important to her personal life and development.

The original photographs were made by different people during the late fifties. Including her uncle, the cinematographer and photographer Johan der Keuken and Anron Haakman - a famous photographer and writer. All the pictures have been abstracted, enlarged and finally hand embroidered in ‘black and white’. The black parts are made up of black and dark grey; the white parts are white and beige.

From up close the ‘handwriting’, or style of the (male) embroiderers that created the work dominates the images. A twisting play of lines shows how the work is made, while distorting the image till it is nearly unrecognisable, and even vaguely reminiscent of mystical and abstract Aboriginal patterns. But once seen from a distance, the images and compositions become familiar once again.