Born @ WdKA

The Orientourist

Mon 11 Oct
Function Illustrator
Year 2021
Major Illustration
Practice Autonomous Practices

Nominee Threshold Award Autonomous Practices & BA Research Award

Meet Katta Rasche! Katta was nominated for the 2021 Threshold Award Autonomous Practices and the 2021 BA Research Award with her graduation project ‘The Orientourist’. In this interview, Katta tells us about her work and future plans.


Can you tell us a bit about your graduation project and how it came about?

“The Orientourist” talks about the implications of backpack traveling in the relation of perpetuating  Orientalists and reductive narratives that manifest the ideological dominance of the Global North over the Global South. After having graduated from high school I took a gap year before studying at WdKA. After four years of having grown as a person and an artist at the academy, I felt like it was my responsibility to reflect on my role as a backpack traveler. In order to understand where we are currently at in this discussion, I interviewed fellow travelers, a travel influencer and an expert on Orientalism in travel photography.

I finally translated these reflections and stories into a map that can also be read as a zine. The publication guides its readers through my process of reassessing my role and contribution to these dynamics and through my own experiences of backpack traveling. 

Which themes or societal concerns are you addressing in your work, and how?

The project is about north-south power dynamics on a global scale and the proclaimed innocence of the curious backpacker travelers from the Global North. It questions to what extent conscious travel can be a way to move forward. Essentially, the topics that I am addressing in my project are the "North-South" divide, colonialism, orientalism and the discriminatory and reductive visual culture that we consume. I approach these large topics by exposing myself in a vulnerable way, in order to avoid pointing fingers at others or patronising the reader. By taking the reader along on my process of unlearning, I invite them to reflect on things at their own pace.

What will you be working on in the near future? What are your next steps?

I realise that this project is only a first step in a long process of unlearning. So I see my work as a sort of testimony for this moment and time, because this discourse is constantly developing. I want to gather more insights, experiences and opinions from travelers or other people with expertise in tacit knowledge, and continue to create tools that help us unlearn. In order to do so, I would like to create a series of workshops that facilitates the exchange of opinions and experiences. As a result, I would like to create annual publications that give insight into the development of the discourse over the years. 


To read more about Katta’s work, pay a visit to her Graduation Catalogue Page. Furthermore, her journey can be followed on Instagram and her Website. The winners of the Threshold Award Autonomous Practices and the BA Research Award will be announced during a festive ceremony as part of the Graduation Show. Keep an eye on our Graduation Show page for more information.