My PhD research (on Open Research repository) drew on the traditions of still life painting and domestic embroidery to explore the relationship of family keepsakes to ideas of time, memory and migration stories.
Through a range of speculative studio processes I examined how seemingly trivial objects and curios can simultaneously connect to both past and present.
Focusing on re-contextualising objects from three generations of my migrant family’s archive I aimed to create a visual narrative, which moves from a sense of loss and nostalgia, and through the processes of retelling and re-presenting in painting and textile, to the present time where specific migration stories have become my own.
Through connecting the research to broader theory such as Michel Foucault’s notion of heterotopic space, I identify the potent role that visual retelling, or re-presenting stories has in creating a compression of space and time.
My practice-led research methods involved working with painting and textiles techniques, in combination and independently, and my work oscillated between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space over the duration of the PhD program.
I experimented with cutting out painted objects from oil paintings and presenting them as floating free from the artistic conventions of a background or setting.
I made embroideries of people and objects and explored the use of absurd scale and unexpected combinations of objects and people.
I developed a digital archive of over 300 objects from my collection, which grew to include special objects from my own and my children’s day to day lives.
I made portraits of people through their objects, three towers made from reclaimed domestic embroidery, and a constellation of painted objects that combined the past with the present and reflected my hybrid practice and hybrid culture.
My research presents an original contribution to knowledge through a body of studio practice, which establishes the unlimited potential of new stories to be told in relation to the objects and the ways visual practice contributes to personal narratives of past, present and future.
I find that I can combine the past with the present to create new objects made from painting and textiles, that are forward looking and optimistic.