A statement I included with the exhibition, History as Personal Memory
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.”
-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
As I began to look at WW2 history as a daughter seeking to understand her roots I became aware of how little I knew– especially of civilian tragedy with its situational complexity. The work I am involved with pays attention to German war time stories which are not well known and yet, I believe, need to be included in our understanding of WW2 and the Holocaust. With them the larger narrative is protected from becoming an homogenous stereotype with limited relevance for our present day.
Drawing is traditionally a preliminary practice yet by using drawing materials my work becomes a method of working back into a personal and collective past, opening it up to questions in order to discover what might have been overlooked. Conte crayon, charcoal, ink, pencil, eraser and acrylic paint are used expressively as I search beneath the surface of historical narrative. Artworks are distressed through various means to explore rich textural possibilities of medium; I bring a tactile reality to images sourced from historical photos so that the past is symbolically embodied in the present.
My current work departs from historical photos as a source and uses my own photos of roses found in my neighbourhood as reference for a symbolic interpretion of the story of German resistance. I am curious about how since the 60s, our post war ideals call upon love as being the answer to our world’s troubles, yet our understanding of love does not seem complex or muscular enough for such a task. Through learning about those who resisted the Nazi regime- even at the cost of their own lives – I am discovering love is an antidote to violence and the means by which we may develop the character and values necessary to resist oppression.