Nani’s visits: creative process

Illustration · Design · Text

During my Master’s degree in Picture Books for Children in 2013, I wrote and illustrated a small story and recipe about my maternal grandmother Nani. What began as a class exercise, soon grew into a life-changing project.
A few months after completing the course, I began talking to my extended family and collecting documents and research to write my version of the story of Nani’s life. I collected stories from the family members of my generation (my maternal cousins) as I wanted the book to be told from our point of view. I found photographs, recipes, old family trees. Early into the process, I was offered a book deal by Ediciones Ekaré, who accompanied me through the entire creative process.
At the time I was travelling back and forth frequently to Casablanca for work, and it just so happened that Nani, aged 89 and a little bit tired of her nomadic-suitcase life, was living at my parents house over there. I was lucky to be able to spend hours with her, talking about her life which was so rich with voyage, stories and ancestral knowledge. We also spend many hours her sweet recipes and savouring food together. On good days, she would share stories about her childhood growing up in India, her family, the partition of India and Pakistan, and her exile to Ghana in 1948.
Making the book was long and full of surprises, and connected me to memory, recording, history and migration.

Artist’s Residence at La Cala

To begin the final drawings of the book, I attended an artist residence at La Cala in Chodes, during which I occupied the exhibition space and made a large mural-map of all the visual material and research I had been gathering over the previous 4 years.
A documentary of the residence can be viewed here.

The book Las visitas de Nani was published in Autumn 2018.