Back Home

May 2020

Back Home was developed during an at-home creative residency that was launched in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As all public gatherings came to halt, the two week residency invited artist to make work from within the confines of their immediate environment. 

 

This project includes 3 main elements - text with image, video and sound - all of which explore to a deeply personal experience of grief during isolation, speaking to the wider loss felt across the globe during Covid_19 lock-downs. 

This project was generously supported by The Quad, Lismore Regional Gallery and Create NSW. 

I respectfully acknowledge the people of the Bundjalung nation, traditional custodians of the land on which this work was created. I pay my respects to Elders both past and present, their culture and continued connection to land, water and community. 

For dad 

this was your home 

and I still feel you here

By accident, or perhaps a twist of fate, I found myself at my late fathers house as the world went into lock-down. Thousands of miles from a life I had put on hold, I found myself confined to the borders of his remote property that had been empty since his unexpected passing in late 2019. I had never planned to be here this long, but as the borders around me closed, I found myself calling my childhood home, home. 

 

During this time I photographed, filmed and recorded memories and moments of grief, loss, love and joy. 

 

I think everyone experienced a level of grief during the time of Covid_19. It was (is) a time that some of us struggled through, often apart from those we needed most. Others found peace and happiness in the slowing down of life. I was lucky, to be ‘stuck’ in a place that allowed for movement and exploration, buffered and kept safe by circumstances brought on by my fathers passing. Sometimes I think he orchestrated to the whole thing, my being here. 

Portrait of Dad 

Photographed in 2018, re-created as a cyanotype print in 2020

Observing life and death - amplified by the absence of you.

I find that grief gives everything new meaning. 

I keep seeing you in all living things. Especially in the animals that come closer and closer and insects that won’t fly away. One day I hear a loud thud on the front door. A small bird has been trying to navigate newly cleaned glass. I gently place it in a dark box, waiting for it to revive. But I’ve already watched the life leave it’s eyes moments before. 

 

After this, I stop seeing you in the world around me so much.  

I remember after your mother had died, black crows slammed 

              themselves against the window with great force. 

 

                               

                                      You told me in eery detail how you felt it was a message. 

 

 

What message it conveyed we were never quite sure.

I took your camera. 

 

For months I couldn’t pick it up, afraid to let the memory of you pass through its lens.

Being here now, 

in your home, 

I find myself running to take 

the photos that you 

would have. 

I decide to make cyanotypes. I taught you how to make them the last time I stayed here. We cleared a room and made it dark. 

 

You were excited to gather the materials we needed; glass, paper, fabric, gloves, mixing dishes, paintbrushes. 

I prepared the chemicals. 

 

I made prints of the land with rocks, grass and leaves. You made prints of your tools and wallaby bones that had been left behind. Today I made cyanotypes, retracing this day, one of the last I spent with you.

     These notes are for you.  

 

Tomorrow will be your birthday. For the last few years we made a tradition of calling each other the day after our birthdays, an inside joke, or sometimes we genuinely forgot. I won’t forget this year. 

Rain

This project was generously supported by The Quad, through their connected creative developments initiative: Together // Alone.