Youqine Lefèvre: The Land of Promises — (The Eriskay Connection)


In 1994, six Belgian families, including my father, travelled across China to adopt girls. I was born in Hunan Province in 1993 and was adopted at the age of eight months. According to the official documents I have, I stayed with my biological family for a month before they left me in a city called Yueyang. A resident found me and dropped me off at the police station. The authorities handed me over to the orphanage and reportedly searched for my parents for four months. I lived in the orphanage for seven months before I was adopted.
The Land of Promises is about China’s birth control policy, especially its one-child policy (1979–2015) an its many consequences that still have and will continue to have repercussions. At the same time, it’s a personal project; it tells the stories of those parents who went almost to the other end of the world to adopt a child, of the five other girls adopted at the same time as me and of my experience in particular. I have no recollection of what preceded my adoption or of the meeting between the parents and children at the orphanage. My ‘memory’ of this event has been mediated through the stories my father and the other parents have told me, the photographs and videos they made and the official documents. Drawing on these archives (which date to 1994), pictures I took during trips to China in 2017 and 2019, research based on writings of demographers and experts on China’s birth control policy and testimonies of people I met in China, this work is about the discovery of my country of origin and an attempt to understand what led to the abandonment and international and transracial adoption of hundreds of thousands of Chinese girls.


Youqine Lefèvre (b. 1993, CN) is a Belgian visual artist currently based in Belgium. After getting a Bachelor in Visual Arts at the Graphic Research School in Brussels (BE), she continued studying photography at the School of Applied Arts in Vevey (CH), and she graduated with a master’s degree in Visual Arts at KASK / School of Arts in Ghent (BE). Her work The Land of Promises allowed her, among others, to win the third prize of the Kassel Dummy Award 2020 (DE), to be selected for reGeneration4 at the Musée de l’Elysée (Lausanne, CH), at .tiff 2020 (FOMU, BE) and to be shortlisted for the MACK First Book Award 2021 (UK) and LUMA RENCONTRES DUMMY BOOK AWARD ARLES 2021 (FR)

The Land of Promises is available now for preorder, visit for more information.

Youqine Lefèvre — Website / Instagram