Vía PanAm

Kadir van Lohuizen


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Norberto Hernandez (52) and his wife Olga have been exiled to the island Sucunguadup, which they heightened themselves using coral. They live on the island with their nine grandchildren and child. They have three children of which one lives with them.

Kuna Yala (San Blas) consists of a long narrow strip of land and an archipelago of 365 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. Due to the rising of the sea level the Kuna's have to evacuate to the mainland; the islands become to dangerous to live on. August 2012 the first four islands will be evacuated. 
Its the teritorium of the Kuna indigenous who have an autonomy they fought  for in 1925.

Image: Kadir van Lohuizen

'Sheep boys' at Estanncia Cameron in Tierra del Fuego.
Until two years ago the estancia was a cooperative, measaring 96,000 ha. The economic situation of the farm was detirrating so the farm was sold. The new onwner has doubled the sheeps to 50,000.

In Vía PanAm, Kadir van Lohuizen investigates the roots of migration in the Americas

By seeking answers to questions such as ‘Why do people migrate? Where to and for what reasons? What is the fate of the different indigenous populations in the Americas?’, Van Lohuizen taps into a phenomenon that is as old as humanity but is increasingly portrayed as a new threat to the Western world.

Travelling 40.000 km along the Pan-American Highway and crossing through 15 countries, Van Lohuizen visualised the stories of the communities, regions and societies he encountered. With Vía PanAm, he wants to shed a light on this ‘forgotten’ region, and create a better understanding of the phenomenon of migration. In his own engaged and compelling way, he does this by focusing on the people involved. Their stories show their strength and their vulnerability, the variety of motivations they have, the roads they travel and the (often informal) infrastructures they enter into.

After the innovative multimedia iPad app and a traveling exhibition, Van Lohuizen’s work will now be compiled into a book. This unique publication takes the reader along through the changing landscapes of the countries he travelled and zooms in on the lives of the people he encountered. The book also includes an essay by acclaimed Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez.

In an inventive design by Teun van der Heijden (Heijdens Karwei), mixing colour, black and white pictures and texts on pages of different sizes, the book provides a unique, high-quality closure to Van Lohuizen’s impressive project.


  • Maker(s):
  • Kadir van Lohuizen

Jim and Teena Helmerick live very remote in the delta of the Colville river, right on the Arctic sea. Jim was born in Colorado, but came to Alaska when he was 8 years old. In the 50's his father Bud and his mother Marther established a commercial fishing operation where they supplied villages on the northern slope with fish. They had the only plane with water and snow skies, so the business became quite successful. 'We have four children, but they all left home, so its just the two of us. The oil companies are really close now, the sky is orange from the flood lights they use, but its still beautiful out here, we are so close to nature.'

Deadhorse is the end of the Panamerican highway at 70°N 148°W on the coast of the Arctic ocean. Deadhorse never really existed until oil was found in Prudhoe Bay and the Trans-Alaska pipeline system was build. The residents of Deadhorse are almost all migrant workers from the US and Latin America who work in the oil. The population is around 5000. The Trans-Alaska pipeline was constructed between 1974 and 1977 after the 1973 oil crisis. Currently the pipeline transports around 700,000 barrels a day. The oilfields are being leased and are mostly based on native land, nevertheless the companies deny access to any outsiders.

Once in a while the family goes to the part in San Diego.

Khattab Aljubori (37), his wife Suhad (31), their children Ibrahim (4), Awos (3) and Mustafa and Fatima (twins 6 months) and his mother Nhanaa (61) came in November 2010 from Babylon, Iraq to San Diego. Khattab worked for the US in Iraq as a computer / info system administrator and was often threatened for being a US agent. In the end it became so dangerous for him and his family that the US granted them a visa. It was a hard decision because they were doing quite well in Iraq. In the US its much harder and they feel they have lost their dignity. Khattab likes the US, but his wife wants to go back to Iraq, she feels locked up and misses her family. Money is an issue, the family gets some support, but the rent is high. Khattab earns some money by fixing computers for people.

Just in San Diego area there are an estimated 60,000 Iraqi's. El Cajon a town outside San Diego has the highest number and is often referred to as 'little Baghdad'. The first Iraqi's who came here were the Kurds during the first Gulf war in 1991. Over the years Iraqi's have arrived in search for safety. The term 'little Baghdad' is also used because Sunni's, Shia's, Kurds and Christians live peacefully together just like in the 'old' days.

This image can only be used copyright free in the context of the Via PanAm exhibition shown at the Bronx Documentary Center October 17 - December 13 2015. Author and title need to be mentioned. For larger features please contact office@noorimages.com

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  • Colophon
  • Title: Vía PanAm
  • Photography: Kadir van Lohuizen
  • Text: Juan Gabriel Vásquez
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Date: 2014
  • Publisher: Paradox
  • Cover: Softcover
  • Pages: 420
  • Size: 245 x 312 mm
  • ISBN: 978-90-818876-1-8

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