Lost & Found

When my parents got divorced, my mother, who had been the maker and keeper of the family albums, took them with her. My father, who attaches very little importance to physical objects with their roots in the past, retained the box of discards (which some years later he gave to me).

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The disobedient photographs and slides that had never quite made the cut; a head cropped off at the neck, eyes caught between open and closed, a small dot of child in a vast and empty landscape. The pictures that were out of focus, or hopelessly over exposed; that did not confirm, “yes! I love you and I’m having a perfectly happy childhood, birthday or day at the beach”. The work comprised 16 images – digital prints onto silk organza. Each image measured 3 meters by 2 meters and had to be printed in three separate sections that I stitched together leaving the edges to fray. They moved slightly as viewers walked through the space. They also moved in and out of view and focus, depending on where you were standing and on the quality of the light as it shifted and changed throughout the day. This work won the FNB Vita Art Prize in the year 2000.

Review by Kathryn Smith