Discovery of old family photographs and letters inspires innovative contemporary art-exhibition in Norwich – now reconfigured to facilitate safety and social distancing.
A Norwich artist has transformed a box of photographs and letters dating from Victorian times into an innovative contemporary art exhibition that encourages people to reconsider their own family history and identity.
The discovery formed the theme for Norwich-based artist Julia Cameron’s new exhibition Kinswomen: Camerons and Kings Served with Baked Starlings where she has reworked and reimagined the images.
“The exhibition is designed to challenge us to reconsider the importance of family photographs, ancestors and mementos in our culture and personal history and what family means to our identity,’ says Julia
It’s a theme that proved to be more pertinent post Covid-19. ‘Many of us have reconnected with friends and family during lockdown, rediscovering and sharing old photos and memories via Zoom and other digital spaces. These have become the new family meeting rooms bringing reassurance or otherwise and news from afar and near.
‘Our loved ones have been reduced to two-dimensions or words on a screen and untouchable. Our ancestors would have been amazed at our communications network.’
In 2017 Julia Cameron saved an intriguing box of old photos and mementoes that were destined for the skip. They contained family photos, letters and cuttings that she never even knew existed. She had spotted them when her father’s room was cleared after he died.
The box contained images of four generations of her family – mainly studio and posed photographs and dating from Victorian times as well as letter and newspaper snippets.
Julia began reimagining and preserving the photographs in order to share them anew. ‘I have created a synthesis of the old physical photographs, combining them and changing them to make new versions that are imbued with memory and emotion.
“Most of the people in the photographs are dead and the past cannot be retrieved. However, while they are a source of sorrow, to my mind they can also be a source of comfort by making the images differently and bringing new life and connections to my past family” says Julia.
26 Aug to 4 Sept (closed Sun and Mon)