The hotel in this book is both real and metaphorical, an actual establishment run by Tenzing Dakpa’s parents in Sikkim, Northeast India, and a prism through which he revisits his family history and place within it. Dakpa’s photos reveal the physical spaces of the hotel, its guest rooms, dining room, the family’s cat on a flight of stairs; as well as signs of daily working life there: sheets hanging out to dry, clipping plants in the garden, his parents engaged in various tasks. For the hotel is both public and private, a business and a home: a transient place for guests who come and go and a residence that holds the memories of its owners and projects their hopes.
As the only member of his family not involved in running the hotel, Dakpa’s photos allow him to negotiate his migration and detachment from it, while intensely exploring his family relationships. In Dakpa’s words, one’s sense of self is inseparable from the places we create, both physically and in our minds: “The nature of our official identity and place on paper is adopted and the one which is in our memory is fragmented, revealed only in places we once remember.” The Hotel is the winner of the Singapore International Photography Festival Photobook Award 2018.