Although migration is as old as humanity, many people in Europe and the USA see it as a threat and a new phenomenon. Yet, the Americas are continents shaped by colonialism and migration. The indigenous population has been either extinguished or sidetracked. People are mainly of European (or African) descent. Bolivia is the exception with an indigenous population that forms the majority. The country elected a native president, a novum in Latin America in 500 years.
People move all over the continent. Looking for work, a different life, a better life and fleeing because of conflict. Sometimes people cross a border for these, often they move to other regions in their own country. For this Kadir van Lohuizen will travel from Tierra del Fuego (Chile) to Alaska and will use the Pan-American Highway as a point of reference. In the end it is the road that people mainly use to move on in life.
While working on various subjects around the globe, Van Lohuizen found that migration often played a role in many issues and in many different forms, be it climate change, war and conflict or economical issues. As a photojournalist who is specialised in covering long-term projects, this inspired him to devote a project entirely to the subject of migration and to make a visual investigation of all its aspects.
The Americas in particular are interesting continents because of their long history of migration and the recent political developments in both South and North America. Whereas most people think of migration as people moving from South to North, most movement actually takes place between neighbouring countries and between different regions within a country. By investigating these movements and visualising them, Via PanAm wants to contribute to a better understanding of migration and the Americas.
The route followed runs from Tierra del Fuego in southern Chile to Prudhoe Bay, northern Alaska. The Pan-American Highway is the primary route, leading Van Lohuizen over more than 25.000 km and past 15 countries.