Based on our genetic ancestry test results, we discovered we have over 3,000 DNA  relatives combined. We contacted all our new DNA relatives and invited them to  participate in the Belongingness project, exploring what identity is and how we are all  connected to one another.  

After contacting our relatives, we each booked and had 10 meetings with 10 different  DNA relatives of all ages and from all parts of the world in March 2021. Through these  online meetings and conversations that lasted for roughly an hour each, we looked to  learn more about our connection, why participants took the genetic test, what they were  looking for, and whether they had found what they were after. Together we talked  through the complexity of our interconnections that define part of our identities and  discovered new meanings to old ideas.

We used landmark points to represent the faces. The names of the participants and our DNA relatives are abbreviated for the purpose of anonymity. Everyone involved consented to the publication of these stories, images and  audio recordings.  

Raquel :: J from USA, living in USA

J. and I share 1 segment of the genome. He told me that he took the test out of curiosity despite knowing that he would be mainly Native American. His parents are Mexican, but he was born in the USA where he lived his entire life. He has very good memories of when he was a child and went on vacation to Mexico and of how he felt  close to his cousins. He spoke to me about that time in his life with a certain nostalgia, about the time when things were simpler, without worries. We shared our age with each other:  I’m 35 and  he is is 30. We shared this feeling of the turning  30 years. It seems that until then everything was more relaxed and suddenly we realise that you cannot stop time anymore and with that comes the worries and it seems that everything changes, your body, your fears, your dreams, it seems that innocence ends at 30, like we inevitably become adults. There is a Portuguese film called “A Cara que Mereces” by Miguel Gomes that begins with the following sentence: “Until you are thirty, you have the face that God gave you, then you have the face you deserve”. This phrase has not left my mind to this day.

He told me it was snowing in Texas and that was why he was at home, he and his dog N. I met N. and I wanted to share my cat with him, but at that time I was only able to share the cat's bed, I am waiting to find  a cat to adopt.

J. loves to travel and has the dream of living in Japan.