ERASURE: Damnatio memoriae is a Latin phrase associated with a practice dating back to the 4th century BCE deemed to be worse than death – the erasure of a person’s "essence or being." The condemnation of memory. Censorship, misinformation, propaganda, and the purging of memory have existed under many regimes throughout history, particularly under totalitarian regimes in the past century. They continue to play out now.
The series takes its inspiration from a box of photographs - the last remnants of my mother-in-law’s life. At twelve, the state police took her father; the rest of her family was lost shortly thereafter. Tamara was a victim of Stalin’s obsession with creating a collective society. The photograph was implicated in this process - the erasure of purged figures, censorship, surveillance, and intervention in private lives was the norm. There was a great deal of fear and mistrust - and the pressure of conformity was immense. Images from Tamara's box have pieces missing, parts torn off. These tender remains are combined with other vintage photographs from my collection and my recent work in Ukraine.
The players in this world include the wealthy landowners, the intellectuals, the spiritual leaders, and my beloved family members - a many-layered cultural milieu. Their images are bathed in pools of egg tempera combined with lapis, ochre, and 24-carat gold. These substances, often associated with the divine, are meant to exude an atmosphere of peace and conciliation. The images reflect the duality of beauty tinged with loss, the opposing forces of the frightening sociopolitical world and the poetry of the land, the people, the heart. The series is meditation and lacrimosa, personal and collective, history invisible and unspoken. It is both hopeless and hopeful. My intention is to give voice to those who have been erased by history - and honor their memory.
I was born in Alvena (Canada) in 1961 and spent my childhood on the Canadian prairies. I later received an MA in ethnography from the University of Saskatchewan, and a MBA from the University of Ottawa.
Inspired by the work of Alberto Giacometti I began exploring the essence of mankind and his/her place in space and time. Having discovered Peter Lindbergh's timeless images and redefinition of our standards of beauty, I embarked on a journey to explore our understanding of time, place, and belonging through my works and metaphorical performative elements. Peter Lindbergh, recognized as one of the most influential contemporary photographers, states: "I very much admire the honesty in your work and I do feel your love and empathy in all your photographs I know and love."
My exploration of the medium of photography and its boundaries coexists with an emotional intensity and honesty. I work to delve into a visual exploration of our understanding of identity, beauty, love and impermanence - eternal subjects at the root of humanity.
My works are in various national and international private and public collections and she has received numerous awards including the Governor General of Canada's Caring Canadian Award and the Sovereign Medal award among others. My most recent exhibition of the series KRAÎNA: i am the land was part of the Canada150 program in Ukraine where the series was shown in four cities and I thought two Master Classes on "Chaos and Creativity."
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