Join us Thursday night July 16th for a chat with four artists participating in our 26th Annual Member’s Exhibition, curated by Alexa Dilworth.
There Is a Place I Want to Take You I had an unsettling feeling when I returned, for the very first time after many years abroad, to the place of my origin. Even though I was surrounded by loved ones, friends and family who were ecstatic to see me, there was a sense of non-belonging. After a couple of days of catching up and hanging out, they returned to their routines. I stopped being their center of attention and became a stranger in a foreign land. It was harsh to come home, to a place which I banished in the past, only to realize that I have been banished in return. Time leaves its mark, transforms places, and alters people. Even the smallest detail can make a huge difference to the way things were. After moving away, I had to rediscover what I have left behind. Using my memories as a starting point, I walked down the road that led to my high school, I lay on the sand at the beach, close to the house where I grew up, I nodded to a familiar face I couldn’t quite place and yet they smiled back. All these round-trip tickets to the past, to a place that I once used to belong, reminded me one of Henry Miller’s quotes that always resonated with me: “One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”
Have always found great comfort in or by the ocean.
The ocean has become the anchor for my current series, Reality & Imagination.
This ongoing series is a body of work of over 100 images that were edited from hundreds of images shot over the past 8 years. The images are squarely rooted in the tradition of Elliott Erwitt, Jay Maisel, Eugene Smith, Lou Draper, and sport photography. They are basically as they are in the instant shot.
I photograph the tide as visual metaphor to explore the dynamic interaction which takes place between the cultures when one lives permanently in a foreign land.
The cultures automatically interact with each other in a motion that is instantly fluid and turbulent, just as the sand and tide. It’s a constant movement in unison where each always retains its distinctive characteristics. This creates a duality that is always present.
The current climate towards immigrants in the US and the present migrant situation in Europe shows that the turbulent interaction between the duality created by the mix of the two cultures does not only manifest itself within the foreign individual but also within that foreign land.
Each of the sections of ‘Reality & Imagination’ explores this cultural duality. The section ‘Silhouette & Shadow’ and ‘Silhouette & Shadow Too’ I give an actual shape to the two cultures as silhouette & shadow, which are both entities that cannot exist without the presence of another. Just as the sand and the tide, a silhouette & or a shadow constantly moves in unison with the object the projected light uses to create it. In that instance, both the object and the shadow always retain each their individual characteristics.
‘Silhouette & Shadow Too’ addresses the phase where immigrants are visible to the dominant society only in limited capacity when needed, and the fact that the potential of enriching the society at large is short circuited.
Personally, the series has permitted me to readily welcome what’s good from both (all cultures in fact) and to let go from each what does not serve me as a human being. It has facilitated me to see at times what’s not readily seen as well as to be at times more present in life. It has given me the understanding that at every point I have the opportunity to act by choosing from within the structures of one of the two cultures what would serve best at that moment.
The constant intermingling of that duality is ever present.
For Time Is No Longer Now: A Tale of Love, Loss and Belonging My mother Lola died in Paris on January 21, 1952, after giving birth to me. My father Zwi died in Tel Aviv of a heart attack, March 1966 when I was 14 years old. My brother Ami died of a cardiac arrest in New York City on Thanksgiving Day, 1998. My immediate family: grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles perished in the Holocaust. My missing family created deep holes in my life—holes so deep that I have been driven to fill them in through a comprehensive and sometimes fevered search. Studying the archives of my family which I collected and saved through my life I uncover facts and information about my mother my father and my brother that help me to better understand their stories. I travel to the places from which my parents came, to where I was born and my mother died, to where I grew up and to times I barely remember, and even before. This is the soul of my work.These are visual disclosures including historical photographs, letters and documents, as well as new photographic works which I created to insert myself into the story of my lost family.
For the past nine years, Brooklyn-based photographer Geralyn Shukwit has traveled the backroads of Bahia, Brazil, returning to the same communities year after year to form relationships with the families who reside there. O Tempo Não Para, Portuguese for “time does not stop,” is a personal documentation of those interactions and observations, a poetic record of Bahian life that prevails despite economic and environmental hardships. One of 26 states in Brazil, Bahia has a population of about 14 million in a region approximately the size of Texas. The Portuguese named it “Bahia” (“bay”) in 1501 after first entering the region through the bay where its capital, Salvador, is now located. An agricultural community, Bahians reside primarily in the cities and towns on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, where the weather is slightly more forgiving than in Bahia’s harsh, arid interior region, the Sertão. Bahia has one of the highest rates of poverty in the country; mothers often have to fish to feed her children and in many communities, water only arrives by truck. Mostly of mixed European and African lineage, Bahians are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, and many practice the rituals of Umbanda, Candomblé, and other syncretist religious sects. Cloaked in Bahia’s unique light, Shukwit’s intimate portrayal of daily life in Bahia offers viewers distinctly quiet, in-between moments laden with profundity. Underpinning the collective power of O Tempo Não Para is the photographer’s acute ability to cultivate trust and develop close connections with community members. Set in the extraordinarily colorful landscape of Bahia, a contrasting palette of bright, cool and warm colors, each photograph leaves traces of a culture seeped in the rituals and traditions that bind them.