Thursday 8 October 2015

Portraits from the immigration archives in Mauritius

Between the 1830s and the 1930s some 450 000 Indian immigrants arrived in Mauritius as indentured labourers. The records of this migration, which are kept in the Mahatma Gandhi Institute in Mauritius, include a collection of passport–like photographic portraits.

These photographs offer rich information about the immigrants’ background and the diversity of their stories. Their careful reproduction and publication allows these portraits, for the first time, to fully express their beauty and significance. 

This book offers new information about the author of these images, immigration depot photographer Abraham Sinapa (probably of Indian origin). It also argues that the photographs are not showing indentured labourers as commonly believed, but mainly,  'old immigrants' who had established in Mauritius, making a new assessment of the immigration archives and their meaning.


  1. I would like to purchase this book. Where is it available for sale?

  2. You can find the book for sale at the Blue Penny Museum, Caudan Waterfront, Port Louis.

  3. This looks amazing. How do I get it in Delhi?